Months after pushing the deadline for banning the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles to 2030, the United Kingdom has surpassed France to become Europe’s second-biggest electric vehicle (“EV”) market. As the world has started moving away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, several countries around the world are planning to replace their fossil fuel-powered vehicles with zero-emission electric cars. According to independent automotive industry expert Matthias Schmidt, around 31,800 battery-powered electric vehicles were bought in the United Kingdom over the first quarter of the year.
On the other hand, France saw the sale of 30,500 battery electric vehicles (“BEVs”) in the first quarter of 2021. Industry data shows that BEVs made up 7.5% of new vehicles sold in the United Kingdom from the start of January to the end of March. This is close to double the percentage of EVs sold within the same timeframe. Although the UK has seen increased EV sales since the coronavirus pandemic struck, the trend is not limited to just one country.
Demand for electric vehicles has been steadily growing in China, Europe and the United States, which are the largest electric vehicle markets in the world. While the EV industry is relatively small and pales in comparison to the century-old automotive industry, EV sales have increased as EV startups and legacy automakers throw their hats into the race. This is partly due to the passage of new emission standards by several countries that levy steep fines on manufacturers that do not find ways to steadily reduce their products’ carbon emissions.
The UK will likely remain the second-largest EV market in Europe, Schmidt says, although it is still a long way from reaching Germany, the EU’s top EV market. In the first quarter of the year, 64,700 electric vehicles were sold in Germany, more than double the EVs sold in the United Kingdom. The German government offers generous subsidies for electric vehicles, and it doubled those incentives in June to make the relatively pricey BEVs accessible to more people.
Automakers within the UK market will have to tighten their belts even further this year, thanks to new emission rules in the wake of Brexit. This means they will have to somehow increase their sales of plug-in vehicles to avoid running afoul of the new emissions standards. However, 78% of British consumers are still worried that the country’s public charging infrastructure is not sufficient enough to support a mass switch to electric vehicles.
A CTEK-commissioned poll by YouGov also found that most people cannot afford to purchase electric vehicles due to their high prices. If the UK government is to meet its emission targets, it will have to offer subsidies to make EVs more affordable.
The electric vehicle industry is continuing to evolve at a fast rate, and with new players such as Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) coming on board through mergers, sector innovation can only ramp up.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/NETE
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