Electric cars are set to treble their market share in Europe this year, but an environmental campaign group is warning the UK could face long lead times in 2021.
Despite the pandemic, electric vehicle (EV) sales have surged since January 1 and will reach 10% this year and 15% in 2021, says Transport & Environment (T&E).
But, with carmakers having to meet targets to reduce the average emissions of the cars they sell in Europe, or pay fines, T&E says the UK supply of EVs is likely to dry up next year in the absence of British regulations equivalent to those in Europe.
Greg Archer, UK director at T&E, said: “Electric car sales are booming thanks to emissions standards. Next year, one in every seven cars sold in Europe will be a plug-in. European manufacturers have EVs to sell, but from January they’ll have no incentive to sell them in the UK unless the Government requires them to do so.”
From 2021, UK sales of EVs will not help manufacturers achieve EU standards. T&E says that the Government has so far failed to make parliamentary time available for equivalent new UK regulations to encourage sales here. These must be introduced by the end of October to be in place by January and maintain supplies of electric cars to the UK, it says.
Furthermore, it claims that the current draft regulation contains errors that will lead to about a fifth less EVs being sold in the UK than was likely if it had remained a part of the existing EU scheme. This is despite Government claims that the rules are equivalent to those in the EU.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has dismissed the claims.
Archer continued: “The electric car is becoming mainstream, but we risk turning off the tap in Britain.
“Carmakers will prioritise EV sales in markets where laws and tax breaks encourage them most, but the UK’s proposed standards are too weak and maybe too late.
"Government needs to quickly introduce regulations equivalent to the EU’s in 2021, or demand for electric cars will outstrip available supply and drivers will be left with long waits to secure their new electric car which will be more expensive.”
Read more on the UK analysis from T&E - UK Car CO2 Regulations: Going nowhere fast.