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Electric car market is growing fast

Nissan Leaf 2017
Nissan Leaf tops the sales for EVs and the 2017 model will have a 200 mile range.

It’s easy to disregard electric and hybrid vehicles as the volumes aren’t really there yet, but that is changing and you really want to be ready for it.


Taking a look at the growth rates for the top ten electric vehicles in the UK, including plug in hybrids, the increase over the past few years is dramatic and demonstrates the way the market is being driven. Here are the sales statistics:
  • 2012 2,061 vehicles
  • 2013 3,396 vehicles
  • 2014 14,507 vehicles
  • 2015 25,776 vehicles
That’s a 1,250% increase in 4 years and the market continues to grow. OK, we have to keep this in perspective; new car sales in the UK for 2015 were 2.63 million units, so still electric represents only a small fraction of the market. But markets do not grow in straight lines and this market is very much pushed by environmental factors, particularly within large urban areas.

The manufacturers are pushing hard with the majority offering either full electric or hybrid vehicles now. The fuel cell is also still in the running with a number of vehicles being trialed from a variety of manufacturers. Nissan for example, are developing a bio-ethanol fuel that will allow fuel cell vehicles to have a more conventional fuel tank and offer a range of just under 500 miles per tank full. This also fits into a conventional petrol station infrastructure but one has to question how much farm land would be required if fuel cell vehicles using this fuel were taken up in any large volumes.

When it comes to electric only vehicles, development in battery technology is expected to continue which will reduce the EV’s Achilles heel - range. Over the past few months we have seen a number of big improvements from manufacturers. Nissan has announced it’s next Leaf will have a 200 mile range which matches the claims from Tesla’s latest vehicles. Similarly, BMW have announced an increase from 100 miles to 195 miles for its electric I3. It isn’t hard to imagine ranges being in the region of 300 miles before too many years.

We mustn’t ignore political will, and it’s worth taking a look at what’s happening. Germany for example has expressed its wish to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, leaving only electric and hydrogen fuel cells as the alternatives. And they aren’t the only ones; the push is to reduce emissions and I am sure we all want to keep our planet’s atmosphere safe. Norway also announced its own target of selling only electric cars by 2025. Even today, 24% of vehicles on the road are electric making Norway the largest market for electric cars in the world.

I don’t think there is any question that pressure will continue to mount all around the world for clean transport and that points to a huge potential growth in electric vehicles over the next 20 years. You may think that’s a long time but we’re already 16 years into this century and the millennium only seems 5 minutes ago.

Maybe it’s time to prepare. A good place to start will be at CARS2016 later this month. One of the Skills Lab sessions is ‘How to handle Hybrid Batteries’ being run by Andy Latham of Salvage Wire. When it comes to automotive recycling, Andy knows more about the hybrid and the EV market than anyone we are aware of in the UK. This workshop is well worth attending as many have now received hybrids in their yards; incorrect handling could be fatal for the operator. You may also get the opportunity to speak to Andy at the show about the EV and hybrid training courses he runs. In the meantime visit Salvage Wire’s website here.

So what are the top 10 best sellers in the UK when it comes to electric vehicles and plug in hybrids:
  • Electric(EV)
  • Nissan Leaf 12,7%
  • Renault Zoe 11,7%
  • Tesla Model S 6,5%
  • Volkswagen e-Golf 4,6%5
  • BMWi3 3,2%
  • Kia Soul EV 2,2%
  • Mercedes B250e 1,5%
  • Volkswagen e-Up! 1,4%
  • Peugeot iOn 1,1%
  • Citroen C-Zero 0,8%
  • Plug in Hybrid (PHEV)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander 13,0%
  • Volkswagen Golf GTE 6,6%
  • Volvo XC90 5,5%
  • Audi A3 e-Tron 4,4%
  • Volkswagen Passat GTE 3,9%
  • BMWX5 40e 3,3%
  • Mercedes C350e 2,4%
  • BMW i3 Rex 2,2%
  • Volvo V60 1,8%
  • BMW 225xe Active Tourer 1,7%
What's interesting with these two list is that apart from Tesla, all the other manufacturers are established, top brands. If they'e putting this much effort in, so should we!

July 2016

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