The recent announcement by the government that it was slowing down the formal transition from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles (EVs) is unlikely to halt the progress of EV adoption in the UK, as the cars become more popular and more manufacturers produce attractive models.
If any proof of this was needed, both Volvo and BMW have produced new global sales data showing that their latest earnings have been boosted by strong electric vehicle sales. BMW in particular exceeded expectations with its sales figures, thanks to the popularity of electric and premium vehicles, even though overall profit before tax was down from a year before.
The BMW data covered the three months to September 30th and revealed that EVs made up 15.1 per cent of all vehicles it delivered, compared with 8.9 per cent in the same period of 2022.
Volvo enjoyed an excellent October of sales, with a ten per cent increase on the same month in 2022 representing the 14th consecutive month of increased sales. The maker was unambiguous in stating that the rise was “primarily driven by the company’s fully electric cars.”
This saw EVs making up 36 per cent of October sales, up 29 per cent on a year ago. Overall, they accounted for 18 per cent of sales, compared to 12 per cent at the same point in 2022.
While these are global figures, the main area of growth will be in advanced countries, where car ownership is high and electric chargers are plentiful. But in Britain, as elsewhere, more EVs will need a growing number of chargers. That is why now is a great time to go on an electric vehicle charging course, to be able to install and maintain chargers across the UK.
The geographical spread of these is currently very uneven. According to the latest official figures, the highest ratios of chargers per 100,000 people by local authority include more than 2,500 in the City of Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham, whereas, by contrast, the figure is just 11 in Fenland and in Melton.
Even in the metropolitan areas, there are great variations. While most central London boroughs have high numbers of chargers (alongside the UK’s lowest car ownership figures), there are still fewer than 100 per 100,000 in the City of London, Harrow, Bexley, and Barking & Dagenham.
In the West Midlands, Coventry has an impressive 1,318 and Birmingham has recently soared to 498, but only one of the four Black Country councils has a ratio above 100. In Greater Manchester, the City of Manchester has 180 per 100,000, but next door Tameside just 33.
Similarly, Liverpool has a ratio of 581 but neighbouring Knowsley only 33 and Wirral just 31.
Therefore, while numbers are rising across the country, they are still uneven even in urban areas, although the need is greater in rural parts of the country as lower population density means the same ratio in such an area means a longer drive between chargers than in towns and cities.
As the Volvo and BMW figures suggest, this will need to be addressed across the UK.