Whether it’s to help the planet or save on fuel, the truth is that the British have fallen in love with electric cars. Many homes are now being sold with garages adapted for this type of vehicle, and increasingly more charging points are scattered across our highways. The popularisation of such cars is reflected in the latest automotive sector statistics.
The electric vehicle market is expected to reach an impressive £460 million in 2024. But this is just the beginning. According to research by Mordor Intelligence, this figure is expected to jump to £730 million in five years, a growth of 58.70%.
How is the UK’s EV Market?
Currently, more than half (53%) of the automobiles sold in the United Kingdom are electric. In the first quarter of 2023, 264,046 EVs were purchased, an increase of 22% compared with the previous year. Of this total, 32% were hybrid electric vehicles, 15% were battery electric vehicles, and 6% were plug-in hybrids.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are fully electric cars powered solely by electricity stored in their batteries. They do not have a traditional internal combustion engine and are recharged by plugging into an external power source, like a wall socket or dedicated EV charging station. They produce zero tailpipe emissions, making them environmentally friendly. Modern BEVs typically offer ranges sufficient for most daily needs, and some models can travel over 300 miles on a single charge.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), in turn, combine a traditional internal combustion engine with an electric motor and a rechargeable battery. While operating in electric mode, these cars produce no tailpipe emissions. However, they will emit pollutants when burning fuel. PHEVs can operate for a limited range on electricity alone (typically around 20-50 miles) before switching to hybrid mode, where the fuel engine is used.
Hybrid electric vehicles also have both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, but unlike PHEVs, their batteries cannot be recharged by plugging in. Instead, they are charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine. HEVs produce emissions when running on petrol or diesel. However, as they prioritize electric power for lower-speed driving and fuel for higher speeds and longer distances, such cars are more fuel-efficient and have lower emissions than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.
What’s in the Future
That electric car will replace combustion vehicles is a certainty. The uncertainty lies in when this will happen. The UK government recently postponed the ban on the sale of new combustion-engine automobiles. The prohibition, which was supposed to start in 2030, is now scheduled to begin in 2035.
The number of available charging points is expected to meet the government’s target of 300,000 charging stations by 2030, growing at 40% annually.
Ways Electric Cars can Save you Money
An electric car brings many benefits to the planet since it pollutes less than combustion engines. But the benefits don’t stop there. According to PCP Claims, a well-established claims management company, owning an electric vehicle also brings financial advantages.
To start with, there are fuel cost savings. A report from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) found that drivers of the top 10 selling petrol cars in 2023 were paying around £700 more a year to run their vehicles compared to the electric vehicle equivalents.
Currently, drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK do not have to pay road tax. However, this is set to change. New zero-emission cars registered on or after 1 April 2025 will be liable to pay the lowest first-year rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), which is £10 a year. From the second year of registration onwards, they will move to the standard rate, presently £180 a year.
It is also important to note the savings in maintenance. Electric cars have fewer components and parts, do not require oil changes, and feature more durable braking systems.
Savings are also evident when parking. Some public parking lots offer free or reduced rates for electric vehicles, as well as on-site charging stations, adding an extra layer of convenience.
Embracing a Cleaner Future: Financial Incentives
Furthermore, there are government incentives. In London, for example, electric cars are exempt from the congestion charge, which is £15 per day. It applies if you drive within the Congestion Charge zone from 7:00 to 18:00 Monday-Friday, and 12:00 to 18:00 on Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays.
Other schemes include:
- A grant to reduce the price of new low-emission vehicles.
- Funding for installing EV charging points at homes.
- A scheme supporting businesses to set up charging stations at workplaces.
- A grant for local authorities to create on-street charging in residential areas without private parking.
There are many reasons to leave combustion engine cars behind and adopt a more environmentally friendly means of transport. The main ones, of course, are contributing to cleaner cities and fighting the climate crisis. But, if that’s not enough, financial and fiscal incentives can be excellent motivators.
The days of burning fossil fuels are finally becoming a thing of the past. Join the movement.