Is the Popularity of Electric Cars expected to Increase?
The electric car has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last few years – and the pace of adoption is accelerating all the time. It might be that we’re nearing the tipping point, and charging stations are going to replace traditional filling stations almost overnight.
In December 2021, around 27,705 Battery Electric Vehicles (that is, vehicles which are powered entirely using electricity, rather than hybrids) were registered in the UK. This is more than double the figure for the same period the previous year. That means that they make up a quarter of new vehicles. That brings the total number of BEVs on British roads to around 395,000. If you include plug-in hybrids, the number rises to 740,000.
These figures are at the sharp end of an exponential upward curve. And, since the technology is improving each year, and batteries are getting more efficient, lightweight and powerful, the days of the traditional internal combustion engine look very numbered.
We should bear in mind also that the electric car enjoys its current level of popularity in spite of a lack of charging infrastructure in the UK. When it becomes very convenient to own an electric car, and traditional petrol stations become scarce, the pivot toward electric could be very quick indeed.
According to the Committee on Climate Change, around thirty thousand new charge points need to be installed every year between now and 2030. The majority of these would be Rapid (50kw DC) charge points.
The Cost of Petrol
If you’ve looked up at the price board at your local filling station recently, you might have winced. The cost of petrol has provided many motorists with food for thought – especially if they’re putting in high mileages for work. This is another factor pushing them in the direction of the electric car, which can be cheaper to keep on the road, in terms of car insurance, tax, and fuel efficiency.
We should also, obviously, take into account the fact that the government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. While there would still be a second-hand market, and existing petrol and diesel vehicles would still have value, most manufacturers are going to pre-emptively shift away from the internal combustion engine.
The electric car is almost certainly going to see some significant technological improvements over the coming years. The price of the lithium-ion battery has declined exponentially over the past few decades, making viable the current revolution in electric cars. There’s also considerable excitement over the arrival of solid-state batteries, which promise to be safer, more efficient, and more powerful (although this excitement is tempered by scepticism from some quarters).