There are 477,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and more than 790,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) in the UK today. The growth of the electric vehicle market is expected to accelerate in the coming years as the UK prepares to ban the sale of petrol and diesel by 2030. However, after massive investment in the UK’s charging infrastructure, we believe there is no better time to buy new or used electric vehicles.
It is estimated that by the end of 2022, electric cars will outsell diesel and mild hybrids. Gasoline will remain the most popular choice for used car buyers for the next few years, but diesel will be a short-lived choice as drivers prefer cleaner and cheaper fuels.
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In the UK, the number of electric cars has increased significantly and over 40% of the models are now available as add-ons. Automakers like Nissan, Tesla, Ford, and Vauxhall have expanded their flagship models to include more expensive add-on models. Premium Volkswagen cars have gone a step further by simply making electronic identification. The model in which Mercedes-Benz developed the Mercedes-EQ models.
Important statistics on Electric Vehicles
- Usually an electric car can take up to eight hours to charge from empty at a ‘fast’ 7kW charge point.
- A substantial amount of electric cars are compatible with ‘rapid’ 50kW chargers, which adds 100 miles in around 35 minutes.
- Currently there are approximately 33,281 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK. Of these, 6,084 are rapid EV chargers.
- In the UK, Scotland has the highest number of EV charging devices per 100,000 of the population (47), followed by England (36), Wales (29) and Northern Ireland (17).
- At the end of June 2021, there were 39.2 million licensed vehicles in the UK but roughly 300,000 of these were EVs.
- 2021 was the best year for new electric car sales with 190,727 new EV registrations.
- Electric cars accounted for 11.6% of all new car registrations in 2021. Petrol was the most popular fuel choice, with a 46.3% market share.
- The original Nissan Leaf was the first EV to enjoy mainstream success. Launched in 2011, the Leaf combined family car practicality with a maximum range of 100 miles.
- Tesla Model S has the best EV range in 2021, with a range of 379 miles on a single charge.
- Tesla Model 3 is the best electric car in the world, with 360,000 sales in 2020.
- Tesla Model 3 was an electric car, with 34,783 units sold in the UK in 2021.
- Tesla Model Y is now the best electric car in the UK in 2022.
(sources: DfT, SMMT, Gov.uk, Low Emission Vehicle Authority)
What is an electric car?
Electric vehicles (sometimes called electric vehicles or EVs) are battery-powered vehicles that run on electricity 100% of the time. Unlike gasoline, diesel or hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles do not have an internal combustion engine; instead, electric cars use an electric motor and an electric battery. A typical electric car can go anywhere from 100 to 200 miles on a single charge, while high-end models like the Tesla Model S or Polestar 2 can go up to 300 miles before you have to pull over to recharge and turn off the power.
What are the different types of electric cars?
The term “electric car” is used for many vehicles. All of these cars are fully electric. In contrast, some “electric cars” are hybrids that use a gasoline or diesel engine combined with an electric motor and a plug-in battery.
The categories of the electric car are:
- Pure Electric Vehicles (EV) – These electric vehicles are powered only by electric batteries and have a range of 100 – 200 km.
- Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV) – Unlike EVs, plug-in hybrid vehicles run on a mix of electricity and fossil fuel (petrol or diesel). PHEVs have smaller batteries than pure electric vehicles, meaning they have an EV range of between 15 and 30 miles. If the battery is flat, the engine will start the vehicle until the battery is fully charged.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) – Hybrid vehicles can only go a few miles on pure electric power. A hybrid car doesn’t have a spark plug, but instead gets electricity when braking and uses it to charge its battery while driving. We go into more detail between PHEVs and HEVs in our guide, and we also list the best hybrid cars.
How do electric cars work?
Unlike their gasoline and diesel counterparts, electric cars do not run on an internal combustion engine. Instead, the wheels are driven by one or more electric motors powered by the battery through the vehicle’s wiring. As with petrol and diesel vehicles, the announced EVs will vary based on driving style. Weather can also affect the efficiency of an electric car and the use of heating and air conditioning in the car. Electric vehicles have smart energy recovery technology that automatically recharges the battery by converting kinetic energy into electrical energy (when braking or going downhill).
Charging the battery in an electric car can be a long process – it takes eight or nine hours to charge most electric vehicles from a 7kW wall box. However, most electric cars have a “fast charge” feature, which uses high voltage to charge the battery up to 80% in 40 minutes.
Top Selling Electric Vehicles (EV) in the UK
Unsurprisingly, Tesla’s Model 3 was the UK’s top electrician with 34,783 units in 2021. The next best-selling model, the Kia e-Niro, recorded less than half that with 12,271 sales. Tesla Model 3 (34,783)
- Kia e-Niro (12,271)
- VW ID.3 (11,032)
- Nissan Leaf (9.052)
- Audi E-Tron (7.396)
- Hyundai Kona (7.199)
- MINI Electric (6,615)
- Renault Zoe (5,778)
- Opel Corsa-e (5,605)
- MG ZS (5,380)
The future of electric vehicles, you can only see the electric vehicles market expanding, and fast. With comprehensive manufacturer buy-in fueled by tightening emissions regulations from governments, electric vehicle technology is improving rapidly – along with the infrastructure that makes running one convenient. You might not be considering an electric vehicle at the moment but you’ll probably be thinking about owning one of your own in the not too distant future.
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