If anyone needed further proof of how serious people in the UK are about issues related to climate change, it has been presented now. The best part is that this was not a speech or a pledge, but a statistical fact that was published officially by the Department for Transport and confirmed by automotive manufacturers. It is both amazing and inspiring to know that the high adoption rate of electric cars in the United Kingdom has led to the country surpassing the estimated requirement by 60,000 electric cars.
Where It All Started: The Declared Future Ban on Fossil Fuel Vehicles
Back in November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that no new fossil-fuel powered light-duty and personal vehicles will be manufactured or sold in UK from 2030 onwards. It was also clarified that hybrid cars in the mentioned class would still be allowed within limits, provided that the hybrids can meet set standards defined by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) at that time. Below, you will find the 10-point plan for UK’s green industrial revolution summarised, as presented by the CCC.
1. Wind Energy
- Electricity generated from offshore windmills will provide energy to all residential buildings in UK.
- By the year 2030, a wind energy infrastructure capable of generating over 40GW will be in function.
- The above step will create employment opportunities for over 60,000 additional workers.
2. Hydrogen Power
- The UK will have the capacity to produce 5GW of low emission hydrogen by 2030.
- At least one town will be heated completely by hydrogen by 2030.
3. Electric Cars
- Cars and vans powered exclusively by diesel/petrol will be eventually and completely phased out of the UK.
- 2030 will see the end of fossil fuel powered car manufacturing and sales in the UK.
4. Public Transport
- More citizens will consider walking and cycling routes to transportation.
- Most citizens will support the Zero Emission programme.
5. Jet Zero + Green Maritime
- Heavy state funding will allow for commercial/military/private planes and ships to meet the zero emission standards.
6. Nuclear Energy
- A large nuclear plant will be installed as a source for clean energy.
- Several smaller nuclear reactors will also be set up to further augment the UK’s annual nuclear energy production.
- At least 10,000 additional jobs will be created by nuclear power generators.
7. Residential and Public Buildings
- 600,000 heat pumps will be installed every year until 2028.
- Steps will be taken to make every building from residential apartments and houses to schools, much greener.
8. Carbon Capture
- Technology capable of depolluting the atmosphere by actively removing pollutants from the air is already present, but on a smaller, developmental level.
- By 2030, the carbon capture system will become advanced enough to remove 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from air in total.
9. Protecting Forests
- More than 30,000 hectares land will be reforested by 2030.
- Additional measures will be taken to preserve existing forests.
10. Global Centre of Green Finance
- London will become an international symbol of successful green financing.
As we can see, the 10-Point Plan highlighted several other goals to meet the Net Zero target by 2050 as well. Along with some of the other points, the looming ban on all petrol/diesel powered vehicles was heavily criticised in terms of viability. Less than two years later though, it seems as though people in the UK are more than willing to make it happen.
Surprising and Encouraging Market Stats Revealed by the Department for Transport
To practically enable the 2030 ban on all vehicles powered only by fossil fuels, the long-term goal must be broken down into several, smaller, yearly goals first. One of the most important of those annual goals is the rate at which electric cars must be adopted every year. This is called the required rate, which should not be confused with the expected rate.
An expected rate or figure is a forecasted number that represents high possibility, based on data analysis. The required rate is the minimum number or figure that is necessary to meet the annual goal, also derived from data analysis. In this particular estimate, the required rate for each year marks a point on the CCC adoption curve. The adoption curve itself stretches up to and beyond 2030 (23.2 million electric cars by 2032).
The Department of Transport published data confirming that the number of electric cars sold in 2021 exceeded the required annual rate for last year by more than 60,000. In fact, that is not all that the data revealed. Apparently, the British EV Industry Received a Quarterly Sales Boost of 173.5% between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021.
A total of 348,000 electric cars were sold in Q3, 2020, which was impressive at the time in itself. The sales figure was a milestone for the UK as no single quarter prior to Q3 2020 had previously recorded such numbers in electric car sales before. However, an astounding sales boost of 173.5% saw 604,000 electric cars being sold in Q4 2021, which broke all previous quarterly records within the British electric car industry.
By the end of 2021, sales within the automotive industry (fossil fuel cars + hybrids + electric cars) in the UK grew by a whopping 23%. It was, however, dominated mostly by a 154% YoY increase in electric car sales. As per the stats, it seems that the market is in perfect alignment with annual goals set forth by the CCC. Although there are several additional factors which will come into play as we get closer to 2030, these are certainly encouraging signs. Keeping the general unpredictability of future changes in mind, the extra sales from good years like 2021 will create buffer room for bad years.
Switching to Electric is Easier Now than Ever Before
As the UK government plans to ban manufacturing and selling of petrol/diesel cars by 2030, all car owners will eventually, and inevitably, have to switch over to an electric car at some point. As one might imagine, such a grand transition at national scale is not going to be easy or smooth all the time. Nevertheless, the country is off to a dream start because the process of switching over to an electric car is surprisingly simple.
For example, we know that electric cars and hybrids can be expensive. Yet, the rapidly evolving electric car technology will leave even the most expensive electric cars of today outdated within a few short years. Initially, this did prove to be the case and people were apprehensive about spending good money on an electric car that they knew would be outmatched by a better, more energy-efficient model very soon. This energy efficiency comes from the fact that electric cars have evolved to use a fuel cell powered by hydrogen, rather than drawing electricity from only a battery. Hydrogen could ultimately change the energy industry, not only in vehicles but also electricity overall. As stated by Joe Sigelman – CEO of AG&P and an expert in the energy industry: “Hydrogen is the ultimate clean-energy gas. It can already be blended with methane to reduce emissions.” Even though early in the adoption process, there are promising signs that hydrogen will be soon integrated in the energy mix – hence, we could see its impact in auto-motion too. This meant that electric car leasing for most people was indeed a better and more practical option than having to buy a new electric car every few years.
Leasing a car is not just cheaper; it also allows the customer to exchange their present leased car for a new model, without having to pay out the remaining balance in its entirety before making the switch. Unfortunately, in the early days, it was not easy to find good electric car leasing options and cost-effective insurance policies to cover them. Nowadays, that has changed thanks to companies like ElectriX. They serve as a one stop shop for everything you need to know about electric car leasing, electric car insurance, and EV accessories to help everyone have a better experience while transitioning to a new electric car.
Despite the startling effect that these numbers had on analysts, we should not forget that good results were not wholly unexpected either. Multiple factors came together to influence the EV market in the UK, which are all very much a part of the Net Zero roadmap. Granted that numbers as high as a 154% YOY and a 173.5% QOQ sales boost went past expectations, but a general boom for the electric automotive industry was certainly anticipated for 2021 and beyond.