2020 – The year of the electric car

Car manufacturers are responding to market demand and new regulations in the race to make 2020 the year of the electric vehicle (EV).

There’s never been a better time to invest in an EV as a range of new models are slated for launch this year to take advantage of road tax changes, defray costs of new emissions penalties and join the green driving revolution.

The EV market is beginning to explode, with almost 265,000 models on UK roads by the end of last December. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) advises that plug-in models made up 6.3% of total UK new car registrations in 2019. Of that, 3.3% or 4,900 were pure electric models.

More than 72,000 electric or plug-in hybrid cars were purchased last year and Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that this will nearly double to 131,000 this year. By 2026, EVs will account for a fifth of sales in the UK.

Similar predictions from LMC Automotive suggest 540,000 EVs will be sold across the EU in 2020, up from 319,000 in 2019.

36 million EVs

The National Grid predicts scenarios where the UK stock of EVs could reach anything between 2.7 and 10.6 million by 2030 and could rise as high as 36 million by 2040.

This year will see the launch of flagship EVs from iconic brands, including the Mini, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Fiat 500.

The first of Volkswagen’s ID.3 cars rolled off a new electric production line in eastern Germany and it will produce 330,000 vehicles a year by 2021. The first of BMW’s Mini Electric models, made in Oxford, will be in showrooms this month, as will the Vauxhall Corsa-e.

Data firm IHS Markit predicts that potential EV purchasers will be spoilt for choice, with the number of models available accelerating from under 100 to 175 by the end of 2020. By 2025 it says there will be more than 330.

Carbon fines

This reshaping of the vehicle market comes as continued pressure is being applied to carmakers to take the foot off the internal combustion engine (ICE) pedal.

They face European Union rules that came into force at the start of the year that heavily penalise carmakers if average carbon dioxide emissions from the cars they sell rise above 95g per kilometre. They will have to pay a fine of €95 (£79) for every gram over the target, multiplied by the total number of cars they sell.

And Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that EVs will become cheaper to buy than petrol/diesel vehicles by 2024.

Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Honda are among the manufacturers releasing new electric vehicles in the next 12 months.

Most eagerly anticipated Electric Vehicles:

  • Honda e – from £26,160 – 125-mile real world range
  • Porsche Taycan – from £79,867 – up to 265-mile real world range
  • Volkswagen ID.3 – Estimated prices from £27,000 – up to 280-mile real world range
  • Vauxhall Corsa-e / Peugeot e-208 – from £25,050 – 185 real world range
  • Mini Electric – from £24,400 – 115-mile real world range
  • BMW iX3 – Estimated prices from £56,000 – estimated 220-mile real world range
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E – from £36,770 – up to 275-mile real world range
  • Peugeot e-2008 SUV / DS 3 Crossback E-Tense – from £28,150 – 170 real world range
  • Polestar 2 – from £46,400 – 265-mile real world range
  • Volvo XC40 P8 AWD Recharge – Estimated prices from £50,000 – 230-mile real world range

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