Breakthrough year for electric cars confirmed

Over half a million battery electric cars have been sold in Europe during 2020 despite the economic downturn, with sales in the UK rocketing by 162 per cent.

Posted on 16 December 2020

Over half a million battery electric cars have been sold in Europe during 2020 despite the economic downturn, with sales in the UK rocketing by 162 per cent.

According to data collected by Schmidt Automotive Research in Germany, Europe is on track to register 600,000 battery electric cars before the end of the year, equating to more than one in twenty cars sold. In 2019, the total number of battery electric cars sold in Europe was 354,000.

UK sales

In the UK specifically, the growth rate has been even higher. Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that more than 86,000 battery electric cars had been registered this year by the end of November - an increase of 162 per cent compared to 2019.

In the same timeframe, the sale of conventional diesel and petrol cars has plummeted by 55 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.

Shift to happen faster than expected

The government recently confirmed that new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from sale in the UK from 2030. However, progress during 2020 shows the shift to electric vehicles may happen much sooner.

In total, battery electric, plug-in hybrid and other hybrid electric vehicles combined have achieved a 27 per cent share in the UK car market so far this year, compared to just 10 per cent at the same point last year.

If the trend continues, some analysts believe that monthly electric and hybrid electric car sales could even overtake petrol at some point during 2021. It is estimated that electric cars will be as cheap to manufacture as conventional models as early as 2024.

‘Never been a better time to switch’

From December, vehicles which emit no CO2 emissions at the tailpipe can sport new ‘green’ number plates. The new plates can be retrofitted onto any existing eligible vehicle and will help to raise awareness of the rising number of zero emission vehicles on the road.

Commenting on the introduction of the new plates, transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “We are going further and faster than any other major economy to decarbonise transport, improving air quality in our towns and cities in the process and harnessing the power of clean, green technology to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.

“Not only will green number plates raise awareness of the increasing number of cleaner vehicles on our roads, they could also unlock a number of incentives for drivers. It’s clear there has never been a better time to make the switch to a zero-emission vehicle.”

 

 

 

Posted under General Interest and Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy on 16 December 2020