electric charging Prius plug-in hybrid close up

British and European car makers are slowing down production of electric vehicles because they are too expensive for many motorists, according to a government agency promoting electrification of transport.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which awards grants to encourage development of zero-emission technology, said in its latest quarterly review of the market that British manufacturers would produce 280,000 fully electric cars and vans in 2025, out of a total production of 1.1 million.

It previously forecast 360,000 battery-only vehicles would be produced out of a total one million.

The new figures would mean only a quarter of UK assembly output will be electric within two years, compared with the earlier forecast of more than a third.

In its report the APC said: “An uncertain economy is expected to drive buyers towards cheaper models and reduced BEV [battery electric vehicle] production is planned on that expectation. Buyers are expected to stick with cheaper options for longer. Although BEV production is reduced, overall production is increased, with more plug-in hybrids and hybrid vehicles [both of which include petrol engines].”

The APC also said it now expected EV production across Europe to be 1 million units lower than expected at 12 million, due to the impacts of the rising cost of living, inflation and the vehicles’ affordability.

It added: “A recovery for 2030 that gets BEV production back on track is uncertain due to an uncertain geopolitical situation and potential supply issues.”