EV Market Update: Are People Buying Electric Cars?

Unequivocally Yes.  Consumers Love EVs!

Until and unless you have been holed up in a disused cold war era nuclear bunker, the chances are that you have come across many silent, emission free electric cars on UK roads.  In all probability, you can now recognise the Tesla EVs and the ubiquitous Nissan Leaf.  

Many of you may have driven in one or even driven an EV.  Some of you are already proud owners of electric cars.  You may even have glanced in awe and jealously at your neighbours driveway, with the sleek, modern Jaguar I-PACE charging.  

Jaguar IPACE SUV Electric
Jaguar I-PACE Electric SUV

Of course, you would have also come across the futuristic looking EV charging infrastructure on roads and petrol stations.  

Yes, the question ‘are people buying EVs’ is rhetorical. In fact, the transition of electric cars from a niche emission free transportation solution  to a robust mainstream solution is well underway. Most current and potential buyers of cars are seeking to learn more about electric cars, as consumers firmly place EVs in their ‘consideration basket’ of vehicles to evaluate.  

It Is A Global Trend 

The UK is not alone in this fast increasing adoption of  electric cars.  Not far away from us, Norway is already a global leader.  In March 2019, nearly 60% of cars sold in Norway, were electric.  

Further afield, markets like the United States and China are already witnessing production and purchases of EVs in meaningful volumes.  Tesla, the silicon valley EV brand most closely associated with the rise of electric road transportation, is already a familiar household name in many markets.  

Behemoth mainstream automotive brands like Jaguar, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Volkswagen are also hot on the heels of market innovators like Tesla. Forecasts for electric cars suggest a staggering 125 million EVs on the roads globally by 2030.  

Model introductions, like the Tesla Model 3, the Kia e-Niro and the Jaguar I-PACE have witnessed an unprecedented number of bookings immediately post launch.  Sadly, this has resulted in much longer delivery times, as manufacturers cope with the surging demand.  

Kia e-Niro Electric Car
Kia e-Niro Electric Car

Though forecasting is always a challenge, we can learn from growth in similar industries to better appreciate the potential scale and speed of EV adoption.  Look no further than our very own backyard.  

When solar energy was first introduced at large scale in the UK in 2010, many were skeptical of the development of this sector. Not only did solar surpass all expectations, but this year, the UK went an entire week without using electricity from polluting coal fire power plants.  Solar was not the only contributor of clean energy into the national grid, other mainstream generating assets like wind farms also contributed to this amazing achievement.

The EV market, in my view, will mirror the renewable energy industry. The renewable energy industry had challenges in the early stages of deployment (just like the EV sector), but it overcame these challenges to become a significant national achievement.  I am not a betting man or speculative, but if I had to hazard an educated guess, I would boldly state that global forecasts will be dwarfed far sooner than expectations.  

UK Market 

united kingdom flag

In the UK we have made good progress with EVs, to include pure electric, plug-in hybrids and of course conventional hybrids.  May 2019 witnessed more than 80% increase in sales of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) compared to May 2018.  Yes an impressive growth, but, EVs to include plug-in hybrids and hybrids are still a mere 6% of market share.  

Plug-in hybrids have seen a reduction is sales volumes compared to pure electric cars.  This is not surprising for two reasons:

  • The introductions of pure electric vehicles with longer ranges has reduced the need for plug-in hybrids.  I expect this trend to continue and in time, plug-in hybrids will simply disappear from the menu as consumers opt for 100% pure electric cars.
  • The UK government changed its grant scheme to focus the PiCG on pure electric vehicles.  A prudent move in my view. 

In the UK there are now more than 200,000 EVs screaming ‘silently’ on the roads.

If you are new to the world of EVs, I would suggest renting one for a few weeks.  No need to rush into buying one.  

By renting, you will be able to assess if an electric car fits in your ‘real world practicalities’, to include:

  • Can I charge my electric car easily and conveniently?  Do I have access to home charging, public charging and workplace charging?
  • Do I use the car for long distances that make it a challenge in an EV?
  • Do I enjoy the smoother driving experience?
  • Do I cherish the pollution free commute?

The list is endless, but I suspect you will fast come to the same conclusion as me and 200,000 other EV drivers.   You find charging much easier than expectations, your EV comfortably meets your range requirements and you certainly love the smoother and less polluted drive.  

Honestly, the only reason you may struggle not to reinforce the above, if you travel significantly more than 200 miles a day and have limited access to public charging or workplace charging infrastructure.  But you are certainly in the minority.  The average distance travelled in the UK is 8,000 miles a year. Put another way, just over 20 miles a day.  

We at e-zoomed are more than happy to assist you with all your EV needs to include:

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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