UK Electric Vehicle Market Shifts to Mass Adoption Phase with Push for Consumer Incentives

A new report reveals that the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) market has moved beyond the early adopter phase and is now on track for mass adoption. Since 2018, over 800,000 EVs have been registered in the UK, and by the end of this year, EVs are projected to hold almost 18% market share. However, while fleets have been leading the transition to electric vehicles, the lack of incentives for private consumers is hindering mass market demand.

Research shows that two-thirds of drivers in the UK express an interest in going electric, but are deterred by a lack of incentives and infrastructure. However, those who have made the switch to EVs overwhelmingly state that they would never return to a conventionally fueled vehicle. To drive mass market adoption, the automotive industry is calling for support for private buyers, including incentives similar to those available to businesses.

Battery electric cars have seen substantial growth in the past five years, increasing from 0.7% of the new car market in 2018 to an anticipated 17.8% by the end of this year. However, the market must accelerate even further to meet the country’s net-zero emissions targets. Private consumers initially drove the shift towards EVs, but their share of purchases has declined since the removal of the Plug-in Car Grant in 2022. This absence of incentives has led to a decrease in sales to private buyers.

To stimulate demand, there is an urgent need for financial incentives and the development of a reliable and accessible public charging network. A survey conducted by Savanta revealed that 68% of respondents believe financial incentives would encourage them to buy an EV, while 67% consider access to charging infrastructure crucial. The success of EV adoption in the business and fleet markets should serve as a model for the private retail market.

Manufacturers have made significant investments to provide a wide range of EV options that meet consumers’ needs. However, the government must complement these efforts with policies such as reducing VAT on EV purchases, raising the threshold for Vehicle Excise Duty, and mandating targets for chargepoint rollout. These measures would make EVs more attractive to consumers and increase demand for them in both the new and used car markets.

In conclusion, the UK is entering a new phase in the transition to EVs. The government’s commitment to EV manufacturing must now extend to incentivizing consumer adoption. By implementing a comprehensive package of measures, households across the country can be encouraged to switch to electric vehicles, benefiting not only the automotive industry but also the economy, society, and the environment.

– Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
– Savanta