Will this be the biggest year yet for electric vehicles?

Will this be the biggest year yet for electric vehicles?

Battery electric car sales surged to record levels in 2019, up 144% on the previous year, according to SMMT figures. The alternatively fuelled vehicles market is one of the few shining lights from a year that saw overall sales drop 2.4% and manufacturing slump 14.2%.

However, the UK is still the second biggest car market in the EU, behind only Germany, with one of the most diverse ranges of vehicles for consumers to choose from. Adding to the hundreds of models of various fuel and body types already available, 2020 will see the launch of 23 new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 10 new petrol-hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

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Electric vehicle charging infrastructure

The surging popularity of BEVs and other plug-in vehicles has prompted the UK Government to double funding for residential street charging points to £10 million. According to the Government, “this could fund up to another 3,600 chargepoints across the country”.

It was widely reported in August 2019 that the number of EV charging stations in the UK surpassed convention fuels stations for the first time. Autocar stated there were 8,400 petrol stations at the time and 9,000 charging sites. According to Zap Map, there are now over 10,800 locations to charge your plug-in car, as of 31st January 2020, and that number continues to rise.

Sue Robinson, Director of the National franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “We have been highlighting that a reliable and accessible charging infrastructure is key to ensure that larger numbers of motorists embrace EVs. As a result, further investment into the UK’s EV charging infrastructure is a positive move forward.”

What else should we expect from the electric vehicle marketplace in 2020?

The continued roll-out of faster, high-powered charging points. Currently, the majority of “ultra-rapid” (>100kw) charging points in the UK are Tesla-units but several other installers have committed to increasing high-speed units in significant numbers. As vehicles with larger batteries and longer ranges become more common-place, faster charging points are a must to bring recharging times under 30 minutes.

Not only is charging set to become faster but easier also, with the opening of several “charging hubs” similar in size and layout to conventional fuelling stations. They will have the capacity to recharge several vehicles at once, with similar facilities for owners as those found at most motorway services. Additionally, an increase in contactless enabled chargers is expected to make it easier for drivers to pay for their charge on the go.

2020 is likely to be the biggest year yet for electrical vehicles, with rising sales, more models to choose from and improved infrastructure to keep owners on the road.


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