electric charging Prius plug-in hybrid close up

The UK could become a leader in take-up of electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030, according to a new research by the auditor Deloitte, which also suggests global sales of petrol and diesel cars may already have peaked.

Deloitte’s analysis found that 50% of UK consumers would consider an EV as their next vehicle purchase. However, 33% indicate that a lack of charging infrastructure remains the greatest concern when considering the switch to full electric.

Jamie Hamilton, head of electric vehicles at Deloitte, commented: “Continued investment in charging facilities and overcoming consumer concerns around their availability and accessibility could see the UK surpass the 32% global EV market share by 2030, reaching as much as 65% of the domestic market in the same period.”

The research also suggests the Covid-19 lockdown may have permanently altered trends in the global new car market.

Hamilton said: “While overall car sales plummeted during this time, EVs have shown resilience in some regions compared to the rest of the market. Consequently, the outbreak of Covid-19 means we have likely seen petrol and diesel vehicles reach their sales peak, albeit relatively unnoticed. With total annual car sales unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, even if sales growth in the petrol and diesel market returns, it is likely to experience a decline in market share thereafter.”

By the end of the decade, a third of all new car sales worldwide will be electric according to the report. This would bring the total number of electric vehicles (EVs) sold in a single year to 31.1 million globally; ten million more than previously forecast.

In spite of Covid-19 disruption total EV sales are still expected to reach 2.5 million worldwide in 2020. Based on a compound annual growth rate of 29%, Deloitte’s research estimates this will top 11.2 million in 2025 and 31.1 million by 2030. Fully electric vehicles will account for 81% of all new EVs sold according to the research, outperforming their plug-in hybrid peers.

Deloitte identified a key factor in driving EV growth over the next ten years as changing consumer sentiment, as many barriers to adoption gradually dissipate.

Hamilton commented: “The price premium attached to many electric vehicles restricted some early adopters but, as the cost of EVs have converged with petrol and diesel equivalents, the pool of prospective buyers is set to increase. A wider range of new electric vehicles, combined with a growing secondhand market, means EVs are becoming a more viable option for many. However, overcoming consumer concerns around driving range and perceived lack of charging infrastructure will be important factors as more drivers consider the practicalities of switching to electric.”

Additional factors driving growth include a favourable regulatory environment, be it financial incentives or emissions targets, and the development of new EV models that span both affordable and luxury ends of the market. Similarly, as company cars and fleet continue to represent the majority of all new car sales, a shift to EVs at a corporate level will further the global transition to electric.