The United Kingdom has fallen behind the rest of Europe in terms of electric vehicle (EV) sales, with one of the slowest rates of growth, according to industry analysts. Data analyzed by Cornwall Insight and Shoosmiths showed that UK sales of electric vehicles grew by 31% in the 12 months leading up to July, while sales across the 27 EU nations experienced a 61% increase.
The research attributed the slow growth in the UK to a lack of public charging infrastructure and expressed concerns that the government’s decision to delay the ban on the sale of new combustion engine vehicles could discourage investors. The prime minister’s announcement to push back the ban from 2030 to 2035 has created uncertainty among carmakers and electric vehicle infrastructure investors, potentially delaying the expansion of charging networks.
According to the analysis, the UK currently has 11.3 electric vehicles for every publicly accessible charge point, leading to “range anxiety” for drivers considering longer journeys. In comparison, the Netherlands has 2.8 electric vehicles per public charge point, while Sweden and Germany have 8.4 and 12.8 respectively.
The decision to delay the ban on combustion engine vehicles, along with a slowdown in phasing out gas boilers and the removal of energy efficiency requirements for landlords, risks undermining the country’s progress in transitioning away from traditional fossil fuel cars. Industry experts are urging the UK to reaffirm its commitment to EV infrastructure growth and incentives in order to regain lost ground and position itself among the leading nations in Europe for EV adoption.
According to the Electric Vehicle Country Attractiveness Index, Norway is currently the top country in Europe for investing in electric vehicles, followed by the Netherlands, France, and Germany. The UK ranked eighth on the index, dropping two places from last year.
Industry professionals argue that the UK government’s policy U-turn is threatening new investments in the country’s green industry and framing the goal of achieving net zero emissions as a divisive political issue.
- Cornwall Insight