The demand for electric cars is increasing rapidly in the UK and the waiting time for new electric vehicles has fallen. These are the findings from What Car Magazine, which come after the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that new car registrations across the UK fell by 44.4% in March as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
However, registrations of electric vehicles bucked the trend with a year-on-year increase of 197.4% indicating a surge in interest for a more environmentally responsible way to travel.
The growing demand for electric cars comes as the government plans to implement a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK from 2035. This ban was brought forward by five years in February, as experts warned that 2040 would be too late to meet the zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 target, set by the government.
Once the ban is in place, only hydrogen or electric cars and vans will be able to be sold new.
What Car Magazine reported long waiting times last year — with some customers waiting more than 12 months, “making it nigh-on impossible for buyers to commit to purchasing one”. However, over the last year the average wait time for a new electric car has now “significantly dropped” with the majority of new vehicles available within 12 weeks, according to What Car.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car, said: “Waiting times on a new electric car used to extend as far as 12 months, but with more models entering the market we’re finally starting to see those times fall to match those of petrol and diesel variants.
“As the new car market recovers from the coronavirus crisis, many of the most popular electric vehicles can be delivered as quickly as a petrol or diesel vehicle, which is a real boost for prospective buyers keen to get on with electric motoring. What’s also encouraging is that some of the newest and most popular EVs can be had with a healthy discount, according to our Target Price research.”
There are now 26 models of electric cars for consumers to choose from, opening up the market. This increased competition to gain sales has also led to significant discounts on electric cars from electric vehicle manufacturers, with an average discount of £1,455.