UK EV sales six times higher than global average

Published:  27 September, 2021

UK EV sales were six times higher than the global average in 2020, putting Britain in fourth place out of 26 countries worldwide, according to a study by international accountancy network UHY.

As Aftermarket reported in its February issue, 108,205 EVs were sold in the UK in 2020 according to the full year sales figures from the SMMT. This represented a 185.9% increase on 2019. This was also six times higher than the 31% average sales growth of electric cars seen globally.

The UK was just behind Germany which saw EV sales up 207% from 63,000 to 194,000 in 2020. Worldwide growth in sales of electric cars has outpaced global car sales, including petrol and diesel, which fell by around 15% to 64 million in 2020, down from 75 million in 2019. While growth is widespread, 19% of countries in UHY’s study saw sales of electric cars fall during 2020. Japan saw EV sales drop by 31%, while sales in Canada were down 20%.

Commenting on the findings, David Kendrick, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, UHY’s member firm in the UK, said: “It’s encouraging to see such a high growth rate in electric car sales in the UK. It’s one of the top performers, far ahead of other major economies such as the US. However, petrol and diesel cars still dominate the UK’s automotive market, meaning electric car sales must grow much faster if we’re going to meet our ambitious targets.”

To capitalise on the growth in sales, greater investment in infrastructure to support EVs will be crucial. David observed: “In order to facilitate this growth, a commitment to creating a vast amount of charging points over the next few years will be critical. It will also be reliant on the National Grid being able to provide enough energy to fuel this transition to electric cars and the extra demand this will create.”

The UK has pledged to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and hybrids from 2035, and although the government has provided nearly £1.3bn in incentives for ultra-low emission vehicles since 2011, there have been cuts. Previously, a grant of £5,000 was available and there was no cap on the price of the vehicle purchased. Since earlier this year grants only cover up to £2,500, with the purchase price limited to £35,000. There is also a grant for electric charging points which funds 75%, up to £350, of the installation costs of charging points at domestic properties in the UK.

David added: “The government needs to think about boosting EV incentives rather than reducing them. Unfortunately, the decision to slash grants for electric cars will have put them further out of reach for some people. However, it’s not too late for more benefits to be introduced.”

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