By 2030 there will be no new fully petrol or diesel cars or vans sold in the UK. This landmark commitment made by the Government in 2020 has helped to accelerate the shift towards the use of electric vehicles (EVs). 22% of all new car registrations to date this year were EVs and there are over 720,000 electrified vehicles on the UK’s roads.
Going electric is a big step, but it doesn’t have to happen just yet. You will be able to buy a used petrol or diesel car or van after 2030 unless the Government changes its approach. We cover some of the key factors behind the decision to switch below.
Save the world
This should be at the forefront of all of our minds. Going green is what we must all do and quickly according to climate change scientists. Recent news from the World Meteorological Society suggests that we have only a 50% chance of preventing global warming ‘passed the point of no return’. So if an EV is affordable and practical for you then go for it and reduce your carbon footprint.
Long lead times
The global shortage of micro-chips, raw materials and parts has massively disrupted the supply of new vehicles. Premium EVs are in high demand and taking 6 months or more to be delivered. You can look at this two ways depending on your appetite. 1) It’s not worth bothering to buy a new EV yet until supply and lead times improve 2) I need to order my new EV now if I want to get it by the end of the year. Alternatively there is a growing used EV market in the UK if you can’t wait for a new car to come off the production line.
Loads of new electric models
Even though it may take time to get hold of a new EV there are an increasing number of new models being released each year. 2022 will be a record breaker with more than 50 globally come on sale. More choice means there will be more affordable and practical models coming to market with large saloons and SUVs making up a significant proportion of this year’s newcomers. So long as supply issues improve the range of EVs should continue to grow and prices (relative to combustion engine vehicles) will continue to fall as we approach 2030.
There are less moving parts in an EV which means less chance of mechanical failure. Manufacturers also provide long warranties on batteries, responding to anxiety over degradation (the battery holding its charge). So in theory you shouldn’t have to visit the garage as much with an EV as you would with a combustion engine vehicle.
But a recent Which? survey showed that a third of consumers that run EVs reported problems within the first 4 years, more than petrol and diesel car customers. The issues mostly related to software problems rather than mechanical faults. As new software and EV technology beds in reliability is set to improve. But we recommend you make sure the EV manufacturer/model comes with good reviews and reliability scores. The Which? survey showed that some of the premium brands did not perform well.
Easy to drive
EVs don’t have multiple gears and are therefore fully automatic which makes them easy to drive. They also tend to accelerate more quickly than petrol and diesel vehicles.
EVs are more costly to insure. This is because they remain more expensive than petrol/diesel equivalents and there is less risk and valuation data available to insurers (given the EV market is relatively new). However, insurance costs are falling as the market grows.
One of the current drivers for going electric is to avoid high fuel costs. Studies have shown that driving an EV will save you on average £700-£800 a year on fuel and upwards of £1,000 a year for all running costs against a petrol or diesel equivalent.
Currently if you run an electric car with no emissions at the tailpipe then you will not need to pay any vehicle excise duty (road tax). We anticipate that the Government will start looking to use the road tax system to make taxing a petrol or diesel car more costly over the next few years. So road tax is a good reason to make the switch now. But over the longer term the road tax system will be completely overhauled. See our article on proposals for a new road pricing system here.
A few years ago most drivers were concerned about whether an EV would allow you to get from A to B without continuous charging required. These days technology has moved on to the point where most new EV models can go for 250 miles or more on a full charge. The bigger problem today is whether the charge point infrastructure is sufficient enough to support those that are not able to charge from home.
Charge point availability
If you own the property you live in and have a driveway then there’s not much to worry about when it comes to charging your EV. You can install a charge point at home. There is funding available to reduce the cost, with many manufacturers, retailers and leasing companies providing free charge point installation when you buy or lease a car.
If you need to rely on the public charge point network then these are the answers you should be seeking to see if an EV is practical:
- How many public chargers are available near you and how much does the electricity cost?
- If these are slow, fast or rapid chargers – if you don’t have access to a rapid public charge point then you will need to leave your car on charge for up to half a day to fully charge it. A rapid charge point will charge it up in 20-40 minutes.
- If your local council has in place a scheme to install charge points in residential areas (e.g. on the road outside your home). More and more of these schemes should be coming online given there is Government funding available.
- If you rent a property that has a driveway explore whether your landlord is willing to help you get a charge point installed. This makes sense for both the landlord and tenant.
Government statistics from January 2022 show that there are more than 28,000 public charge point connectors across the UK, of these just over 5,000 charge rapidly. The problem is that these are not evenly spread across the UK. London, the South East and Scotland are the regions with the highest concentration of charge points. On average, across the UK, there are 42 connectors per 100,000 people. But the Government has a target for 145,000 charge points to be installed every year as a result of new building regulations.