UK drives into e-vehicle fast lane with 11% sales rise

A man recharges his Nissan Leaf electric car in Finnøy, Norway. Photograph: Reuters

Electric vehicles’ share of new UK registrations rises to 2%, still falling far short of Norway’s 48%

Sales of electric cars in the UK have risen 11% on last year, putting the country in the premier league of those ditching petrol and diesel engines, though it is still miles behind Norway and China.

An analysis of the latest global sales of electric vehicles found that nearly half the vehicles registered in Norway in the first three months of 2018 were electric (48%), compared to just over a third (35%) during the same period in 2017. The vehicles are run almost exclusively off the nation’s hydropower resource, underlining Norway’s claim as the world leader.

China’s raw numbers were the most impressive, even if the total market share of e-vehicles was only 2% of new registrations.

In the first quarter of 2018, 142,445 electric vehicles – private cars, lorries, trucks and buses – were sold in China, a 154% increase on the previous year.

Stefan Bratzel of the Centre of Automotive Management (CAM), which compiled the data, said: “China and Norway are exceptional in e-mobility. The lead market remains China, where substantial industrial policy motives are driving battery-electric vehicle technology forward.

“In Norway, where now almost half of new vehicle registrations are e-vehicles, it becomes clear how quickly a change in drive technologies can take place. Generally, e-mobility is also gaining momentum.”

In the UK, e-vehicle sales reached 14,084 units in the first quarter of 2018. Plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for 71% of the sales. The market share of electric vehicles increased from 1.5% a year ago to 2%.

The German market is also be gathering momentum, with the share of electric vehicles rising from 1.2% in 2017 to 2%. At the same time, new registrations of diesel vehicles are in freefall. According to the latest data, diesel’s market share is 31.3% – a decline of 25.4% on the year before.

Globally, new registrations of e-cars are expected to increase moderately by 2020, and will range between 2.5% and 6% of market share, according to CAM.

By 2025, about 25m newly registered electric cars are expected in the most optimistic scenario, which would equate to a 25% market share; this could potentially rise to a 40% share by 2030.


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