UK electric vehicle (EV) production continues to rise, with volumes up more than a fifth as domestic car production returned to growth in October, according to the latest industry figures released today. today.
Automakers produced more than 24,000 electric vehicles last month – including battery-electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles – marking an increase of more than 20% from September, the trade body revealed today SMMT.
It means UK car factories have produced a record 61,300 battery electric vehicles in 2022 so far, up more than 16% on the same period last year, as demand continues to grow for zero-emission models.
It follows a series of new milestones for Britain’s booming battery car sector, which set a new export record in September, when one in seven cars exported from the UK were purely electric models. Domestic sales are also booming, with more than a million plug-in cars registered so far in the UK, a quarter of which have been sold since January alone.
Despite the positive EV growth figures, there remain significant economic and supply chain headwinds for the UK automotive and battery sectors, with the economy already seen as weak. in recession and trade with Europe and beyond having shrunk since Brexit.
The UK has struggled to build a strong domestic supply chain for key components such as electric vehicle batteries and semiconductors.
Most notably, high profile battery manufacturing start-up BritishVolt has faced significant financial challenges as it seeks to deliver on plans to establish the UK’s first ‘gigafactory’ for car batteries. electricity in Northumberland.
British electric van specialist Arrival has also been struggling with cash flow as it seeks to boost manufacturing capacity in response to growing demand, with reports today suggesting the company’s billionaire founder and CEO must resign. Denis Sverdlov, who remains a major shareholder in the company, is expected to chair the board after being replaced as CEO by former Marvel Entertainment head Peter Cuneo.
Nasdaq-listed Arrival has in recent months been forced to scrap plans to produce UK electric vans and buses, instead focusing on the US as it struggles with cash flow problems .
Meanwhile, continued supply chain turmoil has also hit the wider automotive industry hard, which in turn threatens to stunt the growth of the UK electric vehicle sector, according to the chief executive of SMMT, Mike Hawes.
“UK carmakers are doing all they can to ramp up production of the latest electrified vehicles and help get to net zero, but more favorable investment terms are needed and urgently needed – especially in the area of affordable and sustainable energy and the availability of talent – as part of a supportive framework for car manufacturing,” he said.
The government says it is pumping billions of pounds into developing the UK’s electric vehicle supply chain and charging network, which has helped to skyrocket demand for electric vehicles.
However, industry insiders remain frustrated with the level of support, after a number of major automakers opted to locate new electric vehicle production lines in Europe. The government’s decision to cut subsidies for new electric vehicles and the Treasury’s announcement last week that excise duties on vehicles will be leveled from 2025 have also come in for criticism, with campaigners pointing out how the adoption of electric vehicles in the UK is lagging behind neighboring markets such as Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.
In a similar vein, London Mayor Sadiq Khan today confirmed that the capital’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone, which imposes charges on older, more polluting vehicles, is to be extended to cover all the city.
According to plans, from August 29 next year, drivers of the most polluting cars will have to pay £12.50 a day to enter the Greater London Authority limit.
“So far the ULEZ has been transformational, reducing levels of harmful pollution by nearly half in central London,” Khan said. “But there is still far too much toxic air pollution which permanently damages the health of young Londoners and leads to thousands of premature deaths each year, with the highest number of deaths in the outer boroughs of London.”
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