Charging electric vehicle

Electric vehicles reach ‘significant milestone’ in new report

Image credit: Virojt Changyencham/Dreamstime

Over half a million pure battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have been licensed to drive on UK roads, according to RAC Foundation figures.

The latest DVLA data by the RAC Foundation showed there were 519,266 BEVs licensed at the end of June, an increase from the  282,977 that had been registered a year earlier and 130,246 at the end of June 2020.

The most popular model was reportedly the Tesla Model 3, according to the RAC Foundation. 

“This is a very significant milestone in terms of getting more battery-powered cars onto our roads, but we still have a long way to travel before we achieve a truly green fleet given that there are around 33 million cars in Britain,” RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding told the PA news agency. 

Despite the achievement, there is still a long way ahead before the UK can reach its goal of banning the sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK from 2030.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that demand for new pure electric cars is rising more slowly than last year.

According to the organisation, at the end of August, the year-to-date increase had fallen to 49 per cent. This is a sharp contrast with the numbers announced earlier this year when the number of registrations between January and March was 102 per cent more than during the same period in 2021

"In recent months the total take-up of vehicles running solely on electricity can best be described as steady rather than stellar, with shortages of supply hampering the ability of much of the auto industry to get vehicles from their order books and into drivers’ hands,” Gooding said. 

This sluggish trend has been blamed on a combination of supply shortages and the scrapping of government grants worth up to £1,500, dumped by the government in June, towards the purchase of a new plug-in car.

A recent report by consumer website warned that UK drivers could be "priced out of the electric revolution", after finding that there are only seven new electric car models on sale in the UK for under £30,000, compared to 107 available models of petrol or diesel cars in the same price bracket.

In response to the RAC report, the Department for Transport said it wanted to “refocus” funding to encourage users of other vehicles to make the switch to electric.

The cost-of-living crisis is also leading many people to hang on to their existing car for a bit longer, Gooding added. “Knowing how many electric vehicles are available for use is important, but what matters most is whether those vehicles are actually catering for the trips that would otherwise be fossil-fuelled."

Electric car owners in the UK have also suffered a 42 per cent hike in the cost of using public rapid charge points in just four months, according to figures published by the RAC. These show that the average price for using EV chargers on a pay-as-you-go basis has increased by 18.75p per kilowatt hour (kWh) since May, rising to 63.29p per kWh. 

This spike - caused by the soaring wholesale costs of gas and electricity - has made it nearly £10 more expensive to rapid-charge a typical family-sized electric car's battery array to 80 per cent capacity.

Last week, 23 EV charge point operators including Ionity, Instavolt and Osprey signed a letter urging the Chancellor to cut VAT on public charging, describing it as a “simple, relatively low-cost intervention” in light of the high electricity prices which “threaten consumers’ willingness” to switch to EVs.

Currently, VAT on domestic electricity is 5 per cent, whereas motorists using on-street chargers pay 20 per cent.

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