The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders warned that the lack of growth in on-street vehicle charging continues to be a problem
Sales of EVs rose to 190,000 in 2021, up from 108,000 in 2020, when they represented 6% of total sales, and more than had been purchased in the previous five years combined.
However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which produced the data, warned again that the provision of on-street vehicle charging was “much slower” than the growth of EVs.
He said issues around the cost of battery-powered cars and the lack of charging infrastructure were “the biggest obstacle” to people considering this type of purchase.
“Recent cuts to incentives and home charging grants should be reversed and we need to boost the roll out of public on-street charging with mandated targets, providing every driver, wherever they live, with the assurance they can charge where they want and when they want.”
A UK north-south divide also emerged from the data, with 20% of EV sales in London and the south-east, versus less than 10% for the whole of Wales and northern England.
Overall car sales of 1.65mln were down 28.7% on pre-pandemic 2019, making last year one of the worst markets since 1992.
Hawes called it “another desperately disappointing year for the car industry”, saying Covid was continuing to cast a pall over any recovery, with car manufacturers battling tougher trading arrangements, accelerating technology shifts and the global semiconductor shortage.
The top selling car in 2021 was Vauxhall’s Corsa, from General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), selling for just under £15,500, followed by the £42,500 Tesla Model 3, which was the first electric car to rank among the top 10 for overall sales.
The £16,000 Fiesta from Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) lost its title as Britain’s bestseller for the first time in 12 years.
EV charging issues
Moves to accelerate the installation of charging infrastructure last year included a proposal by the government for all new homes and buildings to be required to have charging points from 2022 onwards, with the government announcing an additional £620mln of funding for EVs will include infrastructure such as on-street charging, while energy distribution companies are reported to be planning £300mln of investment to triple the UK’s charging capacity, with 1,800 ultra-fast points at motorway service stations and a further 1,750 in cities and towns.
For investors to access the EV charging market there are not many London-listed companies involved, with the only specialist being Pod Pod Point Group Holdings PLC (LSE:PODP), which specialises in home and workplace charging points and said today that it had seen strong trading in the second half of last year that was supported (unsurprisingly given the rise in EV sales) by “increased demand for charge points“.
Another is EO Charging, a UK-based designer of ‘smart charging’ products that is due to list on New York’s Nasdaq via a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) First Reserve Sustainable Growth Corp in the first quarter of 2022.
EO, which was founded by former Pod Point marketing manager Charlie Jardine, has 50,000 chargers in more than 35 countries as it positions itself as “the ultimate plug-in charging partner for any business”, with customers including Amazon, DHL, GoAhead, Tesco and Uber.
Elsewhere, the largest exposure to the vehicle recharging and (petrol refill) sector is perhaps in BP PLC (LSE:BP.), which has over 7,000 EV charging points across the country and also offer home installation via its BP Pulse business, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LSE:RDSB).
Shell has fewer than 200 charging locations at its petrol forecourts and 3,600 on-street chargers under its Ubitricity arm, with a target of upping forecourt numbers at 100 Waitrose locations by 2025 and installing 50,000 Ubitricity chargers in the UK by the end of that year.
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