Opinion and Editorial

UK crisis proves EVs should shift to top gear

Staff Writer
Filed on September 28, 2021

EV car dealers say that many motorists are seeking innovative vehicles.

W hile hundreds of thousands of motorists in the UK despair in their stranded cars following the fuel panic, dealers of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country are witnessing a huge surge in enquiries from people wanting to desperately switch over to these environment-friendly cars. EV car dealers say that many motorists are dumping their trade-in cars, with no petrol in the tanks, and seeking the innovative vehicles. The EV segment is gaining popularity around the globe, but crises like the current one in the UK, triggered by BP’s announcement that it would temporarily close a few petrol stations, accelerates the switchover to eco-friendly cars. The UK is committed to banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and of new hybrids by 2035. However, incidents like the present crisis are expected to give a big boost to the switchover to EVs.

The world’s leading auto makers are investing huge sums in developing EVs. Jaguar (I-Pace), Volkswagen (ID3) and Nissan (Leaf) have launched new EVs, and others are also following. America’s Ford is investing $11.4 billion in EVs. But more importantly, China is planning an aggressive move into Europe and other markets with its EVs. And the country has a significant advantage: while the average price of an EV has climbed by nearly 30 per cent over the past decade, in China, their prices have shrunk by a hefty 50 per cent. In the UK, an EV is more than 50 per cent dearer than an equivalent internal combustion engine-powered car. China has seen sales of its popular EVs such as the Wuling Hongguang Mini jump to 30,000 units a month. Importantly, there are 300 EV producers in China, many of who are eyeing the international markets. Even countries like India, eager to switch over to EVs is dependent on components from China.

EVs account for a mere one per cent of sales in India today and while major players, including Tata Motors — the market leader in the country for EVs (the company has sold a mere 10,000 units so far) — are planning aggressive expansion, they are dependent on Chinese suppliers. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates there are about 10 million electric cars in the three million EVs were sold last year, with their share heading rapidly towards the five per cent-mark. Not surprisingly, 18 out of 20 of the largest automakers in the world, accounting for 90 per cent of new car registrations, have announced plans to boost production of light-duty electric vehicles.

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