Analysis shows that the UK sold more than half a million electric cars, despite the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic in Ukraine and Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.
In June, the UK achieved this milestone. According to Matthias Schmidt, an automotive analyst based in Berlin, the UK’s electric car fleet is expected to surpass France in the next year.
As carmakers began to produce large quantities to meet stricter regulations on carbon dioxide emissions and impending bans on petrol or diesel cars in the UK and EU, the number of electric cars on UK roads has increased from less than 100,000 to more than 100,000 in 2019.
These figures indicate that pure electric cars make up 1.2% of the 40.5 million cars currently on British roads. However, this share will rise as new models are introduced. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (a lobby group), UK electric car production was twice as high in May as it was a year ago.
Tesla, the American electric car manufacturer run by Elon Musk, was responsible for a fifth of all-electric cars that were on British roads.
For several years, electric car demand has exceeded supply – even though the government has been gradually reducing subsidies to zero since June. However, sales have been hampered by a lack of supply due to both manufacturers’ underestimating demand and component shortages that have impacted the entire industry.
Schmidt stated that the UK could have reached the milestone of 500,000 sooner if it weren’t for the disruptions caused by the production of wire harnesses in Ukraine. They combine electric cabling to control different systems within a car.
He said that “Given the supply-short headwinds, the Ukrainian Wire Harness Production Shutdowns and the Covid Shutdowns in China – slowing the goods leaving China – the production at European car plant was then bruised, battered.” This shortage has also affected the UK market, which absorbs the largest number of EU-made cars globally.
Schmidt said that manufacturers were forced to prioritize the UK for battery car delivery in order to reach their CO2 emission targets. If they don’t reduce the average emission of their cars quickly enough, carmakers could face severe fines.
These targets were initially introduced by the EU. However, the UK adopted them into law following Brexit. The UK used to be able to balance the large, polluting vehicles that were preferred by Britons with the smaller, cleaner-burning cars on the EU market. However, this is no longer true.