Electric car sales in UK surge tenfold since Covid pandemic 

New research from Volkswagen Financial Services UK shows a huge post-pandemic demand for electric cars, with annual finance cases for electric vehicles (EVs) rocketing a massive 1062% from July 2019 to July 2022

Furthermore, the percentage of electric vehicles financed by the car finance company as a proportion of all vehicles in its parc has increased from one percent in 2019 to seven percent this year.

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This trend is all the more impressive considering the level of volatility the automotive industry has faced in recent times. EV sales have increased despite of Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the semiconductor shortage.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK has also announced Newcastle-upon-Tyne as the nation’s top EV hotspot, with more electric cars financed in the North East city in 2022 than anywhere else in the UK. The top five were completed by Southampton, Guildford, Reading and Northern Ireland.

The data also illustrates that whilst driving habits have changed over the past two years, research shows 4 in 10 haven’t driven for work at all since January 2021 and 87% are driving fewer than 10,000 miles annually for leisure, contract preferences remain largely unchanged.

For example, an average contract term in 2019 was 41 months and this has risen slightly to 43 months in 2022. Similarly, consumers are still financing vehicles based on an average mileage of 11,000 miles (17,703km) per year.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK’s data insights team suggest that the nation has become more invested in green and environmentally-friendly travel over the past two years. Many people changed their attitudes towards sustainable transport in lockdown.

This is evidenced by recent research showing that three in 10 Brits (31%) say their dream car has now changed from a petrol or diesel car to an electric car since the pandemic. People are also now more likely to buy an EV (26%) than use public transport (24%), or buy a petrol or diesel car (19%) compared to before the pandemic.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK has reported its most popular EV models in 2022, too, with more finance cases activated for the Volkswagen ID.3 than any other electric car this year, followed by the Porsche Taycan, Audi Q4 e-tron,Audi e-tronand Volkswagen ID.4.

Quentin Willson, former Top Gear presenter and the FairCharge campaign founder, said: “We’ve seen an explosion in EVs in the last two years and in the next four or five years electric cars will become the preferred choice for many. We just need to make sure energy prices stay affordable. 

“There are many EVs that now do 200 to 280 miles on a single charge and batteries in some of the earliest EVs are outlasting the chassis of the car. Just look at our roads and you’ll see that hundreds of thousands of EV drivers have folded electric cars into their lives and successfully use them without anxieties.

“The main priority for me as founder FairCharge is to lobby the Government to establish a Charging Charter, which regulates fair costs, a fair experience, fair connectivity and fair reliability across the charging network. 

“I’ve had talks with Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport – an EV driver and enthusiast like me – and he agrees we need to offer new EV drivers the best charging experience and most affordable charging costs possible.”

Darren Braybrook, Volkswagen Financial Services UK Commercial Development Manager, said: “The UK’s electric car market is in overdrive right now and the rapid acceleration of demand for electromobility is really exciting. However, we haven’t yet reached a critical mass of EV adoption, where we see the cost of acquiring an electric vehicle come down quickly. 

“Affordability is a key issue that the wider industry is working hard to improve as we know that cost is the primary barrier to EV adoption. That in itself is a positive challenge as it means that consumers are already convinced of the benefits of going green, we just need to help customers have better access to these vehicles.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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