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One in every 32 cars now comes with a plug, with 1.1 million electric cars now in use on UK roads – up by more than 50% over the past year, accounting for 3.1% of the vehicle parc, new figures show.
The annual Motorparc data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders also reveals that, overall, the number of cars in use on UK roads in 2022 rose by 124,393 units to 35,148,045.
It means that the number of cars on UK roads has risen to levels last seen in 2019, while the overall number of vehicles has risen to a record 40,723,974 units as supply shortages begin to ease and scrappage levels decline.
The SMMT says that there are now 615,570 trucks and 4,887,593 vans in service, up 1.9% and 1.7% respectively.
Britain’s HGV parc is also at record levels, while vans make up almost one in eight vehicles in use, the largest proportion ever recorded.
Despite the overall increase in vehicles on the road, average car and van CO2 emissions have fallen by 1.6% – driven by the influx of new lower and zero emission models.
Ownership of electric commercial vehicles has also risen, with vans up some 67.3% and buses and coaches increasing by 34.9%, while the number of zero emission trucks has almost trebled since last year – although they still account for fewer than one in 600 in use.
However, public charge point rollout continues to lag behind Electric Vehicle uptake, reports the SMMT, with one standard public charger for every 36 plug-in cars on the road, down from 31 in 2021.
The need for investment is even more intense for other road transport sectors, however, as these existing charge points may not be suitably located or sized to serve van operators, and there are no dedicated HGV charging points on the UK’s strategic road network at all.
Deployment of infrastructure appropriate for commercial vehicles would energise uptake of the latest electric vehicles, accelerate fleet renewal to take older units off the road, and help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After two tough years, Britain is on the road to recovery with the first growth in car ownership since the pandemic – while vans and trucks also continue to deliver for business and society in ever greater numbers.
“Better still, we are driving Britain towards a net zero future with more than a million zero emission vehicles now on the road and cutting carbon.
“With exciting new technologies and models fuelling our appetite to get back behind the wheel, now is the time to commit to greater investment in infrastructure and incentives, to speed up a switch to carbon-free mobility that is accessible to all.”
The UK’s most popular cars are superminis and small family (lower medium) models, which account for nearly six in 10 cars in service, at 11,620,116 and 9,214,039 units respectively.
Two in three cars in use are manual transmission, while 67.2% of cars driven in the UK were made in the EU and 15% were built in Britain.
The figures also show that one in five electric vans are registered in the south-east, while the East of England is Britain’s zero emission haulage hotbed, with 306 battery electric trucks registered in the region.
Meanwhile, the average car and van on the road are both nine years old, while the average truck has seen 8.2 years of service.
British-built vehicles are the most popular in the heavy vehicle sector. 28.1% of trucks and 42.1% of buses currently in use were built in the UK.
Meanwhile in other news Electric car sales surged by 55% last year to surpass 10 million, and China led the way: IEA.
Electric car sales jumped to more than 10 million last year, with China accounting for roughly 60% of the market, according to a report from the International Energy Agency published Wednesday.
The record sales figures, contained within the IEA’s Global Electric Vehicle Outlook for 2023, continue a trend of sustained growth for the industry.
“Electric car sales — including battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) — exceeded 10 million last year, up 55% relative to 2021,” the IEA’s report said.
“This figure, 10 million Electric Vehicle sales worldwide, exceeds the total number of cars sold across the entire European Union (about 9.5 million vehicles) and is nearly half of the total number of cars sold in China in 2022,” it added.
The IEA defined “sales” within its report as being “an estimate of the number of new vehicles hitting the roads.”
In total, it said more than 26 million electric cars were on the world’s roads in 2022, which represents a 60% increase relative to 2021.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, have an internal combustion engine as well as a battery-powered electric motor.
Some regard them as an important tool in the transition toward low- and zero-emission forms of transport. Others, including organizations such as Greenpeace UK, take a dim view of them.
Looking ahead, the Paris-based IEA, seen by many as an authoritative voice on the energy transition, said it was estimating worldwide sales to reach almost 14 million in 2023.
“This explosive growth means electric cars’ share of the overall car market has risen from around 4% in 2020 to 14% in 2022 and is set to increase further to 18% this year, based on the latest IEA projections,” a statement accompanying the report noted.
Chinese market dominant.
The IEA described China as being “the frontrunner” when it came to electric car sales. It added that over 50% of electric cars on the road could now be found in the world’s second-largest economy.
“In Europe, the second largest market, electric car sales increased by over 15% in 2022, meaning that more than one in every five cars sold was electric,” the IEA said, adding that U.S. electric car sales had risen by 55% in 2022.
“Electric vehicles are one of the driving forces in the new global energy economy that is rapidly emerging – and they are bringing about a historic transformation of the car manufacturing industry worldwide,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said.
“The trends we are witnessing have significant implications for global oil demand,” he added.
“The internal combustion engine has gone unrivalled for over a century, but electric vehicles are changing the status quo.”
“By 2030, they will avoid the need for at least 5 million barrels a day of oil. Cars are just the first wave: electric buses and trucks will follow soon.”
Unlocking India’s potential.
While China, Europe and the U.S. are big players when it comes to electric cars, the IEA noted that other parts of the world were also showing “promising signs.”
“Electric car sales are generally low outside the major markets, but 2022 was a growth year in India, Thailand and Indonesia,” it said. “Collectively, sales of electric cars in these countries more than tripled compared to 2021, reaching 80,000.”
India was seeing a “ramping up” of both Electric Vehicle and component manufacturing, Wednesday’s report said. This had been backed by a $3.2 billion incentive program from the Indian government, which had in turn led to $8.3 billion of investment.
The past few years have seen a number of large economies lay out plans to ramp up the number of EVs on their roads.
The U.K., for instance, wants to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030 and will require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions.
The European Union, which the U.K. left on Jan. 31, 2020, is also looking to reduce emissions from road based transportation.
And over in the U.S., California — America’s most populous state — is banning the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
While there is excitement about the potential of low- and zero-emission vehicles, the shift away from cars powered by fossil fuels won’t always be smooth.
Skoda outlines electric-car future, six models due before 2026.
Volkswagen-owned Czech car-maker Skoda has announced its plans to launch six electric vehicles by 2026 – double its most recent target – with some of its most popular nameplates set to make way for battery-powered successors.
The updated electric-car plans were announced overnight with the unveiling of six computer-generated silhouettes, representing the battery-powered Skoda models due to launch overseas between 2024 and 2026.
While Skoda’s existing Enyaq and Enyaq Coupe SUVs are included in the six-car target, the latest announcement is the first to provide estimated launch timing for the remaining upcoming electric vehicles – labelled as ‘Small’, ‘Compact’, ‘Combi’ and ‘Space’.
The ‘Compact’ SUV is expected to be Skoda’s first new electric model to launch, making its European debut next year as the Elroq.
As the electric successor to the Skoda Karoq, the Elroq will measure approximately 4500mm in length – 116mm longer than the existing petrol-powered small SUV.
Next in Skoda’s sights is to launch the ‘Small’ SUV, due in 2025 with a sub $25,000 starting price in Europe, and filling the role of the Fabia hatchback – sharing an almost identical 4100mm body length.
As previously reported, the small SUV will be based on a cheaper electric platform developed for the Volkswagen Group – of which Skoda has been a part of since 1991 – to use in Cupra and Volkswagen models.
The Skoda ‘Combi’ concept is a preview of the Czech car-maker’s first electric wagon, replacing the Octavia which is one of the best-selling wagons in Europe.
Due to launch in 2026, Skoda’s electric ‘Combi’ is expected to measure about 4700mm in length – identical to the current petrol-powered Octavia wagon.
Finally, the ‘Space’ SUV is expected to make its showroom debut in 2026 as Skoda’s flagship model, with its 4900mm length almost 200mm longer than the Kodiaq large SUV.
The Skoda Space was previewed in August 2022 as the Vision 7S electric SUV concept, which showcased the brand’s new design language.
Skoda has previously claimed the seven-seat production version of the Vision 7S could offer more than 600km of claimed driving range from an 89kWh battery pack.
It is also expected to be one of Skoda’s last models to be based on Volkswagen’s MEB electric platform – currently used in models such as the Skoda Enyaq iV electric SUV, the Volkswagen ID range of electric models and Audi’s Q4 E-Tron.
Skoda also announced the Enyaq and Enyaq Coupe SUVs – which launched in 2020 and 2022 respectively – are due for a mid-life facelift in 2025, adopting elements of the brand’s new design language.
By 2030, Skoda plans for electric cars to account for at least 70 per cent of its new-car sales in Europe, though it will continue to develop and produce petrol engines for the Volkswagen Group in the Czech Republic.
Last week, Skoda announced it has been tasked with developing the German conglomerate’s next-generation turbocharged petrol engine, which is expected to power more than 50 models across its seven affiliated automotive brands.
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