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Brits bought more electric cars in March than in all of 2019.

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In March alone, Brits bought more electric cars than in all of 2019, data showed, despite a drop in the broader market, which underscores the accelerating pace of Britain’s transition from internal combustion engines.

According to lobby group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 39,315 new battery electric vehicles were registered in March. Electric sales in 2019 were 37,850 units.

Evidence of growing demand for battery-powered electric vehicles — which some analysts say will be the most popular type of fuel as early as 2025 — offers a glimmer of hope for the auto industry. The auto industry has been grappling with a supply shortage of computer chips for more than a year.

March is a pivotal month for the UK car industry, as buyers queue up for the latest number plates – a status symbol that can also help preserve used car value for a few months.

Brits new passenger vehicle registrations fell 14% compared to March 2021, after the previous two months saw year-on-year sales growth. The industry fears it has missed a period of strong demand – driven by household savings during the pandemic lockdown – and will come under pressure as household finances are squeezed by higher prices across the economy.

Jamie Hamilton, automotive director and head of electric vehicles at consultancy Deloitte, said: “The industry is now facing new economic challenges; especially in light of high inflation and cost of living pressures. These factors together have contributed to a sharp decline in consumer and economic confidence. Dampening potential pent-up demand for new vehicles.”

After Russia invaded Ukraine, gasoline and diesel costs continued to rise to record levels. Diesel prices in particular have soared, averaging a record high of 177p a litre, according to the RAC. The premium for diesel over unleaded prices has risen sharply to 14p, from less than 3p at the start of the year.

Ciara Cook, research and policy officer at think tank New Automotive, said it was “encouraging” that diesel sales had halved in a year to less than 24,000 so far in 2022. Britain’s reliance on Russia for 18 percent of diesel fuel suggests the government should continue to encourage the switch to electric vehicles, she said.

However, she added that Electric Vehicle sales were the fastest growing segment of the market, highlighting particularly rapid growth in some areas of southern England, including the Kent, Peterborough and Cambridge areas, where a third of sales are fully electric .

Ian Plummer, director of car sales website AutoTrader, said: “At the current rate, by 2025, sales of new electric vehicles will outstrip traditional gasoline and diesel sales.

“There has been huge growth in this area, and if anything, the demand for cars is now even stronger because of higher oil prices after the Ukraine crisis.”

However, increased sales of electric vehicles will also lead to Brits higher demand for charging stations.

“Ministers need to make sure we can accommodate that predicted growth,” Plummer said.

UK car sales fell across the board in March, typically the strongest month of the year, after UK factory output fell 41% in February to the lowest level since the 1950s.

A 14% drop in new vehicle sales last month would put registrations below 250,000, compared with the 450,000 March average in the decade before the pandemic. This is the lowest March figure for UK new car sales since 1998.

When it comes to Brits charging your Electric Vehicle for free, most free charging points are 7kW fast chargers, according to Zap-Map, which lists over 25,000 public charging points in the UK.

This typically adds about 30 miles of range for every hour of charging.

An easy way to find a free Electric Vehicle charging station is to click the “Free” filter under the “Payments” option on Zap-Map.com and search for the location closest to you.

While there are many different providers of electric vehicle charging stations, such as BP Pulse, Osprey, and GeniePoint, roughly one charging station is available every second in the Pod Point network for free.

Tesco has partnered with Pod Point to provide free charging bays in car parks at over 450 of its Extra and Superstore branches.

Sainsbury’s has confirmed all its Electric Vehicle charging points (7kW) are free for customers when shopping in-store. 

Premier Inn is rolling out two free Electric Vehicle charging points at each of its 300 locations over the next three years.

There is one charging unit with two connectors at the Springfields Outlet Shopping Centre and Festival Gardens car park in Spalding.

The National Trust. There are Electric Vehicle charging points at 36 locations across England and Wales, and the vast majority, with a couple of exceptions, according to National Trust, are free.

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Brits bought more electric cars in March than in all of 2019.
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