UK remains ahead of electric car targets despite charging issues

During the third quarter of 2022, the total number of all kinds of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) on Britain’s roads reached 981,615, representing an increase of 78,559 over the previous quarter. Crucially, when set against the UK Climate Change Committee target for adoption, the cumulative figure reveals that the UK is currently ahead of the required adoption curve by 162,129 vehicles, as of the end of 2022.

The CCC’s target for the UK is that 55 percent of all light-duty vehicles should be battery-powered by 2032.

According to the Volkswagen Financial Services EV Tracker report, battery cars have outsold mild hybrids, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids across the year and by the end of 2022, battery cars were second only to petrol cars in the volume of sales across the whole market. 

The ULEV fleet size has continued to outpace the adoption curve at an ever-larger margin. 

The most recent gap – over 160,000 vehicles – contrasts that recorded just 12 months ago when the adoption gap stood at around 60,000.

Based on figures from the Society of Motor Traders and Manufacturers (SMMT), battery electric vehicle car sales increased by 40 percent to 267,000 in 2022.

This represents a market share of 17 percent in 2022, compared to just 12 percent in 2021.

Mike Todd, CEO at Volkswagen Financial Services, said the latest EV Tracker continues to shed light on the rapidly evolving EV market, he told

Over the past 12 months, EV adoption has accelerated to the point where the nation is now more than 160,000 vehicles ahead of the required number needed to meet the environmental targets set.

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Mr Todd said this acceleration was “positive to see”, adding that the jump to a 17 percent market share for BEVs is welcome.

He also highlighted the 31 percent uplift in BEV van sales as companies transform their fleets in preparation for a greener future.

Mr Todd added: “Such positivity is matched by the year-on-year reality of manufacturers producing more EV model options across varied price points, range capabilities and vehicle features. 

“More choice opens more entry points for consumers, a cause for optimism that the upward adoption trajectory will continue despite the obvious challenges.

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“One of these remains the speed with which the public charging network infrastructure is being built, and the geographical discrepancies. 

“This has been a consistent theme of our tracker reports over the past twelve months, and we continue to see clear regional differences when it comes to pace of rollout.”

Despite this, the expansion of charging point provision continues to be far from equitable across the UK. 

It has fallen in one region since the last report – the northeast – although there was growth everywhere else.

The highest provision seen in the last quarter was in London at 6.1 units per 100,000 people, with the West Midlands close at six units.

At the end of February 2023, there were 38,982 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, across 23,066 charging locations. 

This represents a 33 percent increase in the total number of charging devices since February 2022, according to Zap-Map data. Mr Todd concluded, saying: “People may hold onto vehicles for longer or delay making the switch to an EV.  

“It will be interesting to see how motivation to make sustainable choices, increased model availability, a more buoyant second-hand EV market, and the reduction of prices in both the new and used EV market help the sector weather the financial storms of 2022, which show no signing of abating in 2023.” 

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