Stuart O'Brien, Author at Fleet Summit
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Stuart O'Brien

COVID stalls 2021 UK new car market but EV sales strong

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2021 new car registrations grew by just 1% on a pandemic-ravaged 2020, as 1.65 million new cars entered the UK market, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The figures underline the ongoing impact of Covid and the semiconductor shortage on the industry, with the market down -28.7% on pre-pandemic 2019, representing the second worst year since 1992.

There was some good news, however, with 2021 the most successful year in history for electric vehicle uptake as more new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered than over the previous five years combined.3  190,727 new BEVs joined Britain’s roads, along with 114,554 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), meaning 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021 can be plugged in. This is in addition to the 147,246 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) registered which took a further 8.9% market share in a bumper year for electrified car registrations, with 27.5% of the total market now electrified in some form.

Following billions of pounds of investment into new technology by manufacturers, more than 40% of models are now available as plug-ins. Indeed, the shift in customer preference for these new technologies continues apace, with December seeing BEVs take a record market share in a non-locked down trading month, accounting for 25.5% of all new registrations.

The UK finished 2021 as the third largest European market for new car registrations but the second largest by volume for plug-in vehicles and the second largest for BEVs. It is only in ninth position overall, however, in Europe for BEVs by market share, underlining the progress still to be made, despite the UK having among the most ambitious targets of all major markets with the end of sale of new petrol and diesel cars scheduled for 2030.

Recent announcements, including cuts to both purchase incentives and grants for home chargers, put the achievement of industry’s and government’s net zero ambitions at risk. Furthermore, the slow pace of growth in on-street public charging – where, on average, 16 cars potentially share one standard on-street charger – could put the brake on EV demand and undermine the UK’s attractiveness as a place to sell electric cars.4

Petrol-powered vehicles, including mild hybrids (MHEVs), remain Britain’s most popular powertrain, accounting for 58.3% of all new cars registered in 2021, with diesel-powered cars including MHEVs making up 14.2% of the market, followed by BEVs at 11.6%, HEVs at 8.9% and PHEVs at 7.0%.

Registrations by private buyers increased by a moderate 7.4%, while those by businesses and large fleets fell by -4.4% and -4.7% respectively, in part due to supply shortages. Superminis remained Britain’s most popular cars, with 514,024 registrations, followed by the lower medium (449,631) and dual purpose (443,632) segments.

Looking ahead, the latest forecast for 2022 – published in October, before the rise of the Omicron variant – is for 1.96 million new car registrations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “It’s been another desperately disappointing year for the car industry as Covid continues to cast a pall over any recovery. Manufacturers continue to battle myriad challenges, with tougher trading arrangements, accelerating technology shifts and, above all, the global semiconductor shortage which is decimating supply.

“Despite the challenges, the undeniable bright spot is the growth in electric car uptake. A record-breaking year for the cleanest, greenest vehicles is testament to the investment made by the industry over the past decade and the inherent attractiveness of the technology.  The models are there, with two of every five new car models now able to be plugged in, drivers have the widest choice ever and industry is working hard to overcome Covid-related supply constraints.

“The biggest obstacle to our shared net zero ambitions is not product availability, however, but cost and charging infrastructure. 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.”

University of Michigan makes EV battery breakthrough

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A new biologically inspired battery membrane has enabled a battery with five times the capacity of the industry-standard lithium ion design to run for the thousand-plus cycles needed to power an electric car.

A network of aramid nanofibers, recycled from Kevlar, can enable lithium-sulfur batteries to overcome their Achilles heel of cycle life—the number of times it can be charged and discharged—a University of Michigan team has shown.

“There are a number of reports claiming several hundred cycles for lithium-sulfur batteries, but it is achieved at the expense of other parameters—capacity, charging rate, resilience and safety. The challenge nowadays is to make a battery that increases the cycling rate from the former 10 cycles to hundreds of cycles and satisfies multiple other requirements including cost,” said Nicholas Kotov, the Irving Langmuir Distinguished University Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, who led the research.

“Biomimetic engineering of these batteries integrated two scales—molecular and nanoscale. For the first time, we integrated ionic selectivity of cell membranes and toughness of cartilage. Our integrated system approach enabled us to address the overarching challenges of lithium-sulfur batteries.”

Previously, his team had relied on networks of aramid nanofibers infused with an electrolyte gel to stop one of the main causes of short cycle-life: dendrites that grow from one electrode to the other, piercing the membrane. The toughness of aramid fibers stops the dendrites.

But lithium sulfur batteries have another problem: small molecules of lithium and sulfur form and flow to the lithium, attaching themselves and reducing the battery’s capacity. The membrane needed to allow lithium ions to flow from the lithium to the sulfur and back—and to block the lithium and sulfur particles, known as lithium polysulfides. This ability is called ion selectivity.

“Inspired by biological ion channels, we engineered highways for lithium ions where lithium polysulfides cannot pass the tolls,” said Ahmet Emre, a postdoctoral researcher in chemical engineering and co-first author of the paper in Nature Communications.

The lithium ions and lithium polysulfides are similar in size, so it wasn’t enough to block the lithium polysulfides by making small channels. Mimicking pores in biological membranes, the U-M researchers added an electrical charge to the pores in the battery membrane.

They did this by harnessing the lithium polysulfides themselves: They stuck to the aramid nanofibers, and their negative charges repelled the lithium polysulfide ions that continued to form at the sulfur electrode. Positively charged lithium ions, however, could pass freely.

“Achieving record levels for multiple parameters for multiple materials properties is what is needed now for car batteries,” Kotov said. “It is a bit similar to gymnastics for the Olympics—you have to be perfect all around including the sustainability of their production.”

As a battery, Kotov says that the design is “nearly perfect,” with its capacity and efficiency approaching the theoretical limits. It can also handle the temperature extremes of automotive life, from the heat of charging in full sun to the chill of winter. However, the real-world cycle life may be shorter with fast charging, more like 1,000 cycles, he says. This is considered a ten-year lifespan.

Along with the higher capacity, lithium-sulfur batteries have sustainability advantages over other lithium-ion batteries. Sulfur is much more abundant than the cobalt of lithium-ion electrodes. In addition, the aramid fibers of the battery membrane can be recycled from old bulletproof vests.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. The team studied the membrane at the Michigan Center for Materials Characterization. The University of Michigan has patented the membrane and Kotov is developing a company to bring it to market.

Are British roads capable of catering for autonomous vehicles?

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This year, the UK became the first country to allow self-driving cars on motorways at low speed. The country is making incredible progress in the trials for autonomous vehicles and is funding innovative projects that will pave the way towards the transport revolution.

Technological advancements in terms of AVs are at the forefront of this revolution. But are British roads capable of catering to the future of mobility? What is the current state of our roads and what improvements need to be made to the infrastructure to welcome self-driving vehicles?

The latest news

Predictions that fully self-driving cars would be common in the UK by the end of 2021 raised many people’s hopes. But it seemed too good to be true. It turns out that we’re not ready yet to fully embrace what was once mere science fiction. Yes, we’re making incredible progress but our AI technology still has some way to go.

While we might not be seeing fully autonomous vehicles on the roads anytime soon, conditional driving automation cars are currently on the agenda. The Jaguar I-Pace model, for example, has been designed with an InControl system that allows for standard and optional driving assistance features. For this project, UK company Jaguar is developing this model in partnership with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project.

This innovation in AVs goes hand in hand with the latest breaking news regarding AVs from 28th April 2021. The news is that vehicles that are fitted with Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) technology will be classed as self-driving (if they’re granted a GB type approval) and will be allowed on the roads. There is only one requirement: they can’t exceed a speed of 37mph.

The highway code is changing

But things don’t end there. To advance the commercialisation of AVs, the UK government is making amendments to the Highway Code, coinciding with the Code’s 90th anniversary. They address the safe use of automated vehicles, outlining this in a whole new section. Now that’s a celebration!

The new section states that the driver must remain aware while inside a self-driving vehicle. They are required to be ready to take control if needed in just a few moments. It also states that the driver is still “responsible for the vehicle being in a roadworthy condition, having a current MOT test certificate if applicable, and being taxed and insured”.

The current state of our roads

So, are AVs ready to take on the challenge of Britain’s roads? The short answer is no, but progress is being made.

The reality is that our road networks are too complex and, therefore, unsuitable for fully autonomous vehicles. It has been suggested that segregation between autonomous and manual vehicles on the roads is necessary. The proposed segregation would continue until connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) overtake petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles. This proposal would call for the construction of underpasses and bridges to ensure the safety of road users. However, this would require the construction of separated infrastructure for automated vehicles. Unfortunately, there is limited availability of land to create such separated infrastructure, and this could be quite expensive to implement.

In order to achieve the level of infrastructure needed to accommodate CAVs, a 30-year planning horizon is needed. It has been suggested that the best way to go about this would be to focus on separate sections of the roadways instead of transforming them all at once.

Communication systems are also crucial to ensure the optimal performance of CAVs. They rely heavily on data transfer through the Internet, which might not be perfect in all areas at the moment.

Another obstacle that needs to be overcome is road markings and traffic signs. The visibility and clarity of these must be maintained, and it may be necessary to digitise signs and markings too. This will also help CAVs to recognise them and action them.

Roadway design advancements

On the bright side, many projects that aim to improve current road infrastructure are in the pipeline.

CAVIAR (Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Infrastructure Appraisal Readiness), for example, is a project carried out between Highways England, Loughborough University, and the construction company Galliford Try. The project won Highways England’s innovation and air quality competition in 2019 and was awarded £1m. It focuses on one of the main pain points of CAV’s innovation: the complexity of the British roadway design.

The CAVIAR platform is set out to be a simulation that examines real raw data. This will allow for an understanding of how CAVs respond to dynamic lane changes, environmental conditions, and road merging.

“This research will build on our understanding and give us further insight into how connected and autonomous vehicles would operate on England’s motorways and major A roads and what challenges they may face”, said John Mathewson, Senior ITS Advisor at Highways England.

Further initiatives to support the improvement of the roadway infrastructure are also present. A ‘smart city hub’ is being built in Ireland. It will allow for autonomous vehicle technology to be tested on 7.5 miles of complex roads. The project is being led by Jaguar Land Rover with the aim of testing its sensory data through various simulations.

Another trial route is being developed on the roads between Coventry and Birmingham. The 186-mile Midlands Future Mobility route uses existing road infrastructure for about 95% of the route. “Smart CCTV, weather stations, communications units, and highly accurate GPS” will be implemented to further support the research.

Yes, fully autonomous vehicles are still on the agenda, and it might take some time until we reach that stage of CAV’s development. However, the extensive research that is being performed on British roadway design in recent years sets us up for success one step at a time.

Do you specialise in Dash Cams for fleets? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Fleet Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the fleet market – and in February we’ll be focussing on Dash Cam solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help fleet buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Dash Cam solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Chris Cannon on 01992 374096 / c.cannon@forumevents.co.uk.

Here’s our features list in full:

Feb – Dash Cams
Mar – Driver Training
Apr – Accident & Risk Management
May – Fleet Management Software
Jun – Telematics/Tracking
Jul – Contract Hire & Leasing
Aug – LPG/Alternative Fuel & Fuel Management
Sept – EV Infrastructure
Oct – Duty of Care
Nov – Grey Fleet
Dec – Service, Maintenance & Repair

HGV driver the most in-demand role in transport and logistics

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HGV driver and supply chain manager roles are most the most in-demand jobs in logistics, with a respective 7,200 and 4,831 available job postings.

At the end of September, there were 52,000 vacancies within the industry as a whole, analysis of Reed & Total Jobs vacancy postings and Road Haulage Association data carried out by packaging retailer RAJA UK, with the top roles identified as:-

Job title Average Salary Vacancies Job requirements
HGV driver £32,000 7,200 –        A full, clean driving licence

–        Take one of the five vocational qualifications

–        Pass the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests

Warehouse operative   £21,293 1,461 –        Ability to operate hand tools such as nail guns

–        Good physical strength, fitness and dexterity

–        Computer literacy

–        Ability to operate a forklift

Supply chain manager   £42,500 4,831 –        A foundation degree in a relevant subject or qualifications from industry-led organisations.
Transportation Planner £30,178 143 –        A degree in a relevant subject or get a Transportation Planning Technician Apprenticeship.

–        To progress, you may need to get a postgraduate qualification in transport planning.

Purchasing manager £45,231 1,978 –        A degree with business influence.

–        Be a member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) or be working towards becoming one.

Distribution manager £44,305 3,400 –        A degree with a logistics or business influence.

–        Professional certification from CIPS, Institute of Operation Management (IOMS) or the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

Sourcing specialist £48,9717 1,308 –        Bachelor’s degree.

–        CIPS qualified.

–        Experience in procurement and supply chain services or domestic/international transportation.

–        A full driving licence.

–        Ability to travel both in the UK and abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAJA’s transport manager Nigel Smyth said: “When hiring for the RAJA fleet, we wanted more than someone with excellent driving skills. We wanted passionate people who could provide both road safety and a superb customer delivery experience to fit in with the RAJA ethos of ‘do the right thing’. Our drivers are inclusive members of the wider team and need to be able to work as a group to ensure our high customer service levels are always met.

“The recruitment success of our current fleet was mainly down to word of mouth. Once we had onboarded a few drivers, the rest quickly followed. Our current drivers work exceptionally well as a team and have input in developing our fleet project to expand further in 2022.”

BVRLA criticises government changes to EV grant criteria

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British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) Chief Executive Gerry Keaney has stated that it’s the ‘wrong time’ to reduce support for electric vans, following the government announcement that the grant scheme for zero-emission vehicles has been updated to target less expensive models.

The plug-in grant scheme, which has supported nearly half a million vehicles over a decade, has helped kickstart a market that is now moving forward at pace with over one in 10 cars sold in 2021 – over 150,000 – having a plug. And the government says EVs are becoming more affordable as the market has expanded and demand is increasing.

As such, it will now provide grants of up to £1,500 for electric cars priced under £32,000, with currently around 20 models on the market, which it claims ensures taxpayers’ money makes the most difference – and ensuring as many people as possible can benefit.

Support for wheelchair accessible vehicles is being prioritised, with these retaining the £2,500 grant and a higher £35,000 price cap.

Grant rates for the Plug in Van Grant will now be £5,000 for large vans and £2,500 for small vans, with a limit of 1,000 per customer per year.

“Financial incentives such as the Plug-in Grants have proven to be a positive factor in encouraging people into electric vehicles, evidenced by the continued growth we’re seeing. Subsidies cannot run forever, but the fleet sector relies on certainty, reducing these grants will have a negative impact on this,” said Keaney following the announcement.

“While we’ve seen high levels of uptake within the car market, the situation is not the same for electric vans. The disparity across the industry means that sweeping solutions are not suitable.

“Incentives have had a positive impact to date but there is more to be done. It is disappointing to see support declining when cost remains a crucial stumbling block.

“There remain many barriers that are slowing down the mass transition to electric vans. Today’s news increases those challenges and will delay the uptake of electric vans. This is particularly the case for SMEs, where the lack of price parity between ICE vehicles and electric alternatives makes it hard to create a realistic business case to make the switch.

“For the move towards electric vans to gain momentum, more support and incentives are essential, now is not the time to remove or reduce them.

“We are calling on the Government to provide more support around commercial vehicles, including an extension of the Plug-in Van Grant beyond the current 2022/2023 end date.”

Christmas 2021 traffic set to be busiest for five years

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This Christmas could see the busiest getaway on the roads in five years, with an estimated 27m trips by car to see friends and family between today and Christmas Eve, a study by the RAC and INRIX shows.

With many schools in England and Wales breaking up today, the RAC’s figures suggest there will be an extended getaway in the run-up to Christmas, with an average of 4.1m such journeys taking place every day next week, culminating in most leisure journeys by car – some 5.3m – taking place on Christmas Eve, which the RAC has dubbed ‘Frantic Festive Friday’.

Thursday 23rd is expected to be next busiest with around 4.1m leisure trips taken as drivers criss-cross the country to spend Christmas with those close to them. Drivers are advised to set off early or postpone their trips until after dark to avoid the worst of the traffic.

Given Covid travel restrictions are expected to be much less strict this year compared to last, the figures indicate that drivers are keen to make the most of the Christmas and New Year period to see friends and loved ones, but it’s still the case that one in 10 drivers (10%) don’t plan on travelling by car at all over Christmas because of the pandemic. The rapidly developing situation with infections of the Omicron variant could, however, still curtail the country’s Christmas celebrations.

Both the RAC and transportation analytics specialists INRIX believe there is likely to be less pre-Christmas congestion than in a ‘typical’ non-Covid year, with the ‘work from home’ guidance leading to far fewer commuters on the roads. Nonetheless, INRIX data shows that drivers are likely to face festive delays on the clockwise M60 near Manchester, the southbound M40 in Oxfordshire and the northern and western sections of the M25. The single worst queue before Christmas is expected on the M25 between Gatwick and the junction for the M40 on Thursday afternoon.

Looking ahead to traffic over the Christmas break itself, the RAC’s research indicates that Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the Monday bank holiday could all turn out to be busier than normal for leisure trips this year – with around 4.5m journeys a day by car taken to see friends and family, compared to the average of around 3.5m for the same period since 2015.** INRIX also predicts some lengthy jams – delays of more than 45 minutes on the clockwise M25 between Gatwick and the M40 on Boxing Day, and of nearly an hour and a half on the same stretch the following day.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Despite the increasing prevalence of the Omicron Covid variant, our research shows that the vast majority of drivers are still determined to do Christmas properly this year – in sharp contrast to 12 months ago. We’re expecting the biggest Christmas getaway for five years, including a ‘Frantic Festive Friday’ on Christmas Eve. But with overall traffic volumes in the run-up to the big day set to be down slightly on normal given the current ‘work from home’ guidance, there’s reason to hope there won’t be too many queues as millions get away to see friends and family.

“As well as adding to the traffic jams, just a single breakdown has the potential to ruin Christmas which is why we’re urging drivers to make sure their vehicles are ‘road ready’ before they set out. Spending a few minutes checking that tyres are in good condition and are properly inflated, and ensuring oil, coolant and screenwash levels are all correct can dramatically reduce the chances of running into problems – as our patrols will testify, it’s always time well spent.

“Our figures this year also point to more drivers using the roads between Christmas Day and New Year for leisure trips than normal – perhaps to make up for the fact that last Christmas was such a write-off for so many people. Popular days for travel are often busy days for breakdowns, so following our advice to avoid a breakdown in the first place is arguably more important than ever this year. But, for anyone who still runs into trouble, our expert local patrols will be working incredibly hard throughout the festive period to keep them moving.”

INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pishue said: “With kids out of school and many Brits taking extended time off for the holidays, drivers can expect moderate delays around the UK, but heavier congestion on motorways in and out of the cities. Leaving later in the day is recommended, as roads will begin to clog up during the early afternoon.”

National Highways customer service director Melanie Clarke said: “We don’t want roadworks to spoil Christmas so we’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible; that’s why we’re keeping almost 98% of the road network we manage free from roadworks.

“Our dedicated control room teams and traffic officer patrols are geared up to help those travelling over the Christmas and we’re expecting Thursday 23 December to be one of the busier days in the lead up to the festive period.

“We know from experience that peak travel times can vary in the run-up to Christmas, so we’re encouraging drivers to check traffic conditions before heading out to help keep traffic flowing.”

Met Office forecaster and presenter Alex Deakin said: “Weather in the UK in the run up to Christmas looks more grey than white. High pressure, and therefore dry weather, will dominate but it will also remain mostly overcast. Fog is likely to be the biggest hazard on the roads and at this time of year it can take all day to clear so it won’t just be a morning problem.

“There are signs of a shift around the Christmas weekend to something a little wetter but it’s too early to say more than that at the moment. Tune into our updated RAC forecast next week to find out what you need to know for any trips you’re making. And stay up-to-date with the Met Office forecasts online or download our weather App for the weather at your fingertips.”

Do you specialise in Electric & Hybrid Fleet Vehicles? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Fleet Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the fleet market – and in January we’ll be focussing on Electric & Hybrid Vehicle solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help fleet buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Electric & Hybrid Vehicle solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Chris Cannon on 01992 374096 / c.cannon@forumevents.co.uk.

Here’s our features list in full:

Jan – Electric & Hybrid Vehicles
Feb – Dash Cams
Mar – Driver Training
Apr – Accident & Risk Management
May – Fleet Management Software
Jun – Telematics/Tracking
Jul – Contract Hire & Leasing
Aug – LPG/Alternative Fuel & Fuel Management
Sept – EV Infrastructure
Oct – Duty of Care
Nov – Grey Fleet
Dec – Service, Maintenance & Repair

Responsible for Health & Safety? Join us in London this February!

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The next Occupational Safety & Health Forum takes place on Tuesday, 1st February 2022, with the cream of the UK’s buyers and suppliers converging under one roof.

The top services in demand by registered delegates are:-

Behavioural Safety
Compliance
Occupational Health & Wellbeing Services
Training Courses
Wellbeing/Wellness
Risk Management/Assessments
Stress Management
Contractor Management
Incident Reporting

As an industry supplier, the benefits of attending include:

– An itinerary of one-to-one meetings with key buyers
– A seat at our industry seminar sessions (included within your itinerary)
– Lunch and refreshments are complimentary throughout
– Networking breaks to make new connections

Already confirmed attending buyers include;

Astley Signs
Avison Young
BT
DWF Law LLP
Fidelity International
Inside Out Developments LTD
KMPG
L3Harris
Modulous
Molsoncoors Beverage Company
NatWest
Openreach
PVC Manufacturers
Soilfix Limited
William Grant & Sons
Willmott Dixon Holdings
HSQE Manager
H&S Manager
Health & Safety Specialist
Group HS&E Manager
Global Health Safety and Sustainability Director
HSE Advisor
Head of Health and Safety
Business Support Manager
SHEQ Manager
Health & Safety Manager
H&S Manager
Head of Plant Safety
SHEQ Manaher
Director
Health & Safety Leader
Chief HSE Officer

For more information and to secure your place as a supplier, contact Clair Wyld on 01992 666724 / c.wyld@forumevents.co.uk.

To register as one of our delegates, click here.

EV sales skyrocket: More EVs registered in 2021 than previous decade

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By Ben Hubbard, WhichEV

According to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more electric vehicles will be registered in 2021, than in the whole of the previous decade.

Between 2010 and 2019, a total of 271,962 BEVs and PHEVs were registered, while in 2021 alone the SMMT forecasts that closer to 300,000 of the latest plug-in vehicles will be sold.

The same forecast also predicts that BEV registrations will outsell diesel cars by the end of next year.

So far this year, plug-in vehicles account for 16.6% of all new car registrations and hybrid EVs account for 9.1% meaning that more than a quarter of all new cars sold are now electrified.

“Our latest outlook shows the UK experiencing a surge in plug-in vehicle uptake. Massive investment by industry as well as longstanding government incentives have seen us go from just 188 new plug-in cars in 2010, to almost 300,000 in 2021,” says SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes.

This increase in interest in electric vehicles comes against a backdrop where overall car registrations plummeted in October.

Overall, new car registrations last month fell by -24.6% to 106,265 units compared to October 2020, making this the worst October month since 1991.

Most of this decline was driven by large fleets as their demand fell by -40.4% whereas private decline was just -3.3%.

A detailed analysis is available over on WhichEV… https://www.whichev.net/2021/11/11/plug-in-vehicle-registrations-in-2021-on-track-to-exceed-whole-of-last-decade-despite-overall-market-decline/

At the same time, a damning new report shows that for every 52 plug-in cars registered in 2021, just a single public charger was installed.

While the UK government has pledged £620m of zero-emission grants in its Net Zero strategy, and the Government’s Rapid Charging Fund is investing £950m to expand the number of rapid and ultra-rapid charge points, this is insufficient to keep up with consumer demand.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Recent Government funding for infrastructure was welcome but more private sector investment in public charge points is needed across the country. The UK therefore needs a framework of regulation that makes it easier to fund, build and operate electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Consequently, we need commensurate and binding targets for charge point rollout and reliability so that all those without a driveway or designated parking can be confident of finding a convenient charger, and one that works.”

At the end of 2019, 11 BEVs and PHEVs shared a public charging point on average, but by the end of 2020, that ratio had dropped to one charger for every 16 plug-ins.

While many people making the switch to an EV will be able to charge their car at home, on a driveway or designated parking bay, there are still those that rely on on-street parking, and so charging infrastructure has to cater for all needs if we are to achieve net-zero.

Britain’s ratio of plug-in vehicles on the road to standard public charge points is now one of the worst among the top 10 global electric vehicle markets at 16:1 in 2020.

Some of the countries offering EV drivers better charging coverage, include South Korea (3:1), the Netherlands (5:1), China (9:1), France (10:1), Belgium and Japan (both 13:1).

There are also regional disparities in the number of charge points around the UK. London has the best ratio at 10:1 while the east of England has the worst at 49:1.