The UK overtook France to become Europe’s second largest electric car market in the first quarter of the year, amid rising demand for cars with zero exhaust emissions and the transition for the UK to become net-zero.
Around 31,800 battery electric cars were sold in the UK in the first three months of the year, compared with 30,500 in France. Electric car sales have risen rapidly since the start last year, in part because of new emissions rules, it has meant that manufacturers face steep fines if their products’ average carbon dioxide output does not fall.
Battery electrics accounted for 7.5% of UK sales in the first quarter of the year, according to industry data, almost doubling the market share compared with the same period in 2020.
Zero emission vehicles can be the UK most visible incarnation to create jobs, strengthen British industry, cut emissions, and continue travelling. From 2030 the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, 10 years earlier than planned. However, the UK Government will allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.
The accompanying support package of £2.8 billion demonstrates their continued faith in British car manufacturing as the backbone of UK industry in the West Midlands, Wales and the North, bringing jobs and investment back into the UK whilst simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air we breathe.
UK’s Target Milestones:
- 2021 – Publish a Delivery Plan setting out key milestones to deliver the new phase out dates
- 2021 – Publication of a Green Paper on the UK’s post EU emissions regulations and the car and van phase out dates, as well as launch a consultation on the phase out of new diesel HGVs
- 2030 – The Government expect the network of charge points on England’s motorways and major A road to be extensive with more than 2,500 high powered charge points that can charge your car so it can drive over 100 miles, all in the time in the time it takes to have a cup of coffee
- 2030 – End of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans
- 2035 – All new cars and vans will be zero-emission from the tailpipe leading to cleaner, greener vehicles on UK roads. England’s motorways and major A roads will have around 6,000 high powered charge points
Last year was the first year where European consumers bought more than half a million electric cars, even though the world was going through a pandemic. It is believed that sales in 2021, will more than double to 1 million, although pure electrics will still be only a tenth of the total European car market by 2024, according to independent analyst forecasts.
Germany is by far the biggest single market for battery electric cars in Europe, with 64,700 sold in the first quarter of the year. That performance was helped in part by generous subsidies, doubled by the German government in June, to help its auto industry, which is key to Europe’s largest economy. Other markets are proportionately more advanced than the UK in moving to electric cars. Norway in 2020 was the first country in the world where more electric cars were sold than fossil fuel cars, thanks to generous subsidies.
Matthias Schmidt, an independent automotive analyst said, “The UK is likely to remain the number two European BEV (battery electric vehicle) market this year, albeit a long way behind market leader Germany, which manufacturers are relying on to meet European-wide targets thanks to the generous incentives on offer there.”
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