The UK electric car market is showing good momentum with just under 20,000 new plug-in registrations in the first half of 2016. This is a 31.8% increase on the same period in 2015 and more interestingly there was a 38% like for like increase in the second quarter of 2016. There is no doubt that the UK electric car market is going from strength to strength, total registrations since 2011 are nearing 70,000, and the UK government is playing its role in this growth. So, what can we expect in the future and will the UK electric car market lead the European sector?
The two most popular vehicles in the first half of 2016 were the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the Nissan Leaf both of which are recognised as leaders in their field. Perhaps one of the other interesting factors of late is the ever-increasing competition across the electric vehicle market which is giving consumers more choice. This increase in choice can only benefit the sector going forward and we are starting to see some of the biggest names in automobile manufacturing stepping up to the EV mark.
It is also worth noting that journey capacity is also improving significantly and indeed Tesla is rumoured to be on the verge of announcing a vehicle which can do more than 300 miles per charge.
Governments around the world tend to attract significant criticism but it is worth pointing out that the UK government has invested heavily in the UK electric car market. Indeed there are currently grants available to those purchasing electric vehicles of up to £4500 not to mention tax benefits, low vehicle exercise duty and attractive rates for company car tax. All in all the UK authorities are investing directly and indirectly into the industry and it is certainly starting to pay dividends.
This comes at a time when the UK government is facing the challenge of Brexit which will eventually see the UK leave the European Union. There has been talk that the likes of Nissan could move their UK operations to within the European Union, to benefit from tax breaks and trade agreements, but nothing has yet been agreed. This is one more reason why the UK government will eventually need to come to an arrangement with the European Union to give the UK access to the European single market. Great progress has been made with regards to electric vehicles but this could very easily be undone if the authorities are not able to agree a suitable trading relationship with the European Union going forward.
Many people tend to overlook the positive impact the electric car market is having on the UK employment market. It is estimated that in excess of 18,000 jobs in the UK are dependent upon the low emission sector which incorporates both practical assembly of vehicles as well as the technology behind them. The UK has become a central point for the European electric car market although as we mentioned above there could be some choppy waters ahead in light of the Brexit vote.