Registrations were down by around 35 percent in February as the lockdown continued to force showrooms to close, but there was good news for the environment as figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed pure electric car sales were up 40% compared with the same month in 2020.
With sales of petrol and diesel cars falling by 44% and 61% respectively, that brought the battery electric vehicle (BEV) market share up from 3.2% in February 2020 to 6.9% last month.
And there was good news for those new EV owners, after Zap Map reported motel chain Premier Inn and energy company Engie would install 1,000 new 150kW rapid chargers at Premier Inn hotels across the country.
The chain’s procurement director, Simon Leigh, said: “We know range anxiety is a real concern for many of our guests who own electric cars. Knowing they will soon be able to arrive and have access to a high-speed charge point… will be a great source of comfort.”
At the same time, the government has promised to invest £20 million in on-street charging points in the 2021/22 financial year. As was reported by Current, that money will be available to councils wishing to install new charging points in lamp posts and other street furniture, covering up to 75% of the cost. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the funding would help make switching to electric vehicles easier.
But it seems plenty of drivers have already made the transition, with Zap Map reporting a total of 10.8 million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can now be found on the planet’s roads. That’s after roughly 3.24 million new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were registered in 2020.
Despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, that was up from 2.26 million in 2019.
Popular electric car manufacturer Tesla will be hoping it can help add to that tally with updated versions of the Model S saloon and Model X SUV. As was reported by Electrive, the two flagship models have been revamped with fresh designs inside and out, with highlights including new horizontal touchscreens and a aircraft-style ‘yoke’ steering wheel – although there’s some speculation as to whether that will be allowed on UK roads.
Tesla has also promised to remove the indicator stalks and gear selector, with Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeting to say the car would ‘guess’ the vehicle’s next move. If it’s wrong, the driver can override the decision using the touchscreen.
General Motors is hoping to increase its electric vehicle sales, too, with a new Superbowl advert featuring comedy actor Will Ferrell. After learning Norway has more electric vehicles per head, Ferrell heads to Europe to “crush” the Norwegians with the company’s new Ultium battery tech. It’s an amusing skit filled with typical Ferrell comedy timing and intensity, and it’s also a backhanded compliment to the Scandinavian nation, which has made great strides in increasing EV uptake.
Perhaps more importantly, though, it backed up the General Motors commitment to introduce a massive 30 new EVs by 2025. But now Vauxhall is part of the Stellantis group, which incorporates Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat, it doesn’t mean much for the UK market.
Nevertheless, it’s good to see the gas-guzzling Americans making the effort to go green.
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