In a Covid world, what’s the latest on electric cars?

Latest car industry news from Logbook Loans ….

 

2020 so far has been dominated by Covid-19. Almost every aspect of our lives has been affected by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown measures, with everything else being put on hold while we focus on getting through this.

But in the midst of all this drama, what is happening with electric cars?

Towards the end of 2019, we published an article Electric Cars in the News Again. The title referred to the fact that James Dyson had decided to pull out of the electric car market. But the article went on to explain that during 2019 there was a huge increase in interest in electric cars. Four possible reasons for this were:

  • government legislation banning sales of all non-electric cars by 2040;
  • growing awareness of environmental and climate change concerns;
  • increased availability and range of electric cars;
  • potential “green” number plates entitling electric car owners to benefits such as cheaper parking. 

But then came the pandemic! So what is the situation now regarding electric cars?

Let’s take a look.

 

Deadline for banning non-electric cars

In our above article, the deadline for banning the sale of non-electric cars in the UK was 2040. But in February 2020, Boris Johnson announced that this ban would be brought forward from 2040 to 2035 at the latest. This change of plan was due to expert advice that 2040 would be too late for the UK to achieve zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

The policy change was announced at a launch event for the major United Nations COP26 climate summit that had been due to take place in Glasgow in November, but has now been postponed to 2021 because of Covid-19. However, in early June the government announced its Race to Zero campaign, to encourage zero carbon targets from UK cities, regions and businesses. 

As part of this, the government is still working towards the deadline of 2035 “at the latest” for the non-electric car ban: with Transport Secretary Grant Schapps suggesting that it could even be as early as 2032. 

 

Sales of electric cars

The sale of electric cars – including battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and other hybrid cars – doubled its market share during the pandemic. So, even though overall car sales fell dramatically, car buyers appear to be more likely to opt for electric and hybrid cars.

The increased market for electric cars could also be vital to the recovery of the UK economy over the next few years. The electric car market creates opportunities for UK suppliers in areas such as batteries, electric machines and power electronics. The government is also thought to be planning to extend electric car charging networks to encourage demand.

 

Production of electric cars

So there is increasing demand for electric cars, but are these cars available? How has the pandemic affected production?

Most car manufacturers are ramping up production again and an exciting variety of new electric cars are expected on the market over the next few months. These include:

  • Peugeot e-2008 compact SUV 
  • Volkswagen ID 3 similar to Golf hatchback, 
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge – SUV
  • Polestar 2 ( Volvo-owned) – mid-sized 
  • Citroën E-C4 – family hatchback
  • BMW iX3 – electric version of BMW’s X3 SUV
  • BMW i4 – four-door coupé 
  • Tesla Model Y – compact SUV
  • Audi Q4 e-tron – electric SUV
  • Audi E-tron GT –  grand tourer
  • Dacia Spring – similar to the brand’s Duster crossover
  • Fiat 500 – similar style to petrol model.

Prices of the above cars will vary enormously. The Dacia Spring is widely expected to be Europe’s cheapest electric car but will not be available until spring 2021. At the other end of the spectrum, the new flagship Tesla Roadster sports car, which was originally due to be produced this year has been delayed. Production is now expected to start in 2022, with prices from around an eye-watering £150,000.

 

So despite the pandemic, the electric car market is still gaining impetus. There is also no plan to delay banning the sale of non-electric cars in the UK. In fact, as we have seen, this may even be moved forward as part of the Race to Zero campaign to achieve our zero carbon emissions target.

So if you are considering changing your car in the near future, you may want to start looking seriously at electric cars as a good investment for the future.

Check back here soon for more motoring, lifestyle and financial tips from Logbook Loans.