Motor Industry Update 18 February 2021

Electric Vehicle - the Volvo XC40 T5 Plug-in Hybrid Photo credit: Volvo Cars

Zap-Map survey reveals key trends in Britain’s booming electric vehicle market

The UK’s leading EV mapping service Zap-Map, has just published a report of its EV Charging Survey, which takes a comprehensive look at the current state of Britain’s electric vehicle charging network and reveals new trends in EV charging behaviour in the UK based on the experience of 2,200 drivers who responded to the company’s survey.

The rise of high-powered charge points is a growing trend. Last year 16% of EV drivers used ultra-rapid chargers, an increase of 3% from the year before. There has been an increase in rollout of these charge points over the past 12 months and are now 788 ultra-rapid chargers across the country, up from 476 at the end of 2019. The new charge points cut the average charge time compared to a standard 50-kilowatt rapid charger by half, meaning that the majority of the latest EV models such as VW ID range, Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Kona and Vauxhall Corsa-e are able to take advantage of these new higher charging speeds. However, the 50-kilowatt rapid chargers remain the most popular with 64% of respondents using these devices which can add 100 miles of range in around 25 minutes.

Dr Ben Lane, co-founder and chief technical officer at Zap-Map commented:

“This new report comes at a crucial time for the EV market. Competition among car manufacturers and charge point operators is becoming fierce and the industry is growing fast. The insights in this year’s wide-ranging report shows that EV drivers are adapting to changes in the market.

“One of the clear conclusions is the importance of having a robust and reliable charging network. As the number of EVs continues its upward march, it’s vital that drivers are offered the simplest and smoothest experience possible.”

The survey also found that while 83% of EV drivers regularly charge at home, 90% also use the public charging network, with 39% using the public network at least once a week. However, their overall usage has fallen from the 2019 figure of 94%, which is no doubt due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and people using their cars less.

Interestingly, over 48% of respondents now charge at supermarkets, followed by motorway service stations at 47% and public car parks at 32%, whereas motorway service stations have been the most popular location types in previous years. It is thought that the shift in usage has been due to the increase in the number of charge points available at supermarkets, which presently stands at 1,631 chargers in 952 locations, combined with the availability of free charging at some of the major chains.

Tax incentives drive surge in demand for Battery Electric Vehicles

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) have grown to take a 15% share of new lease car registrations in the third quarter of 2020, as the Government’s Benefit-in-Kind tax incentives began to take full effect.

According to the BVRLA’s latest Quarterly Leasing Survey, plug-in and hybrid vehicles overtook diesel to take a 36% share of new lease car registrations during the same period and look as though they will overtake petrol engine vehicles in the not too distant future.

Almost one-fifth of the BVRLA car leasing fleet now relies on some form of powertrain electrification as the fleet sector continues to drive the transition towards cleaner road transport.

This has resulted in diesel’s share of the total lease car market falling to below 50% for the first time, while petrol has held steady with a 34% share. The average CO2 emissions for the BVRLA car leasing fleet new registrations have also fallen from 107g/km to 105g/km in Q3-2020, which is around 8% lower than the national average.

“Quarter three of last year delivered the long-awaited surge in BEV registrations that we expected after the introduction of the zero-rate BiK incentive,”

said BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney.

“A massive 21% of new business contract hire car registrations were BEVs, once again demonstrating that the company car sector is driving the transition to zero emission motoring.”

Motorists demand more transparent finance advice

According to new research by the online car supermarket, one in four car buyers do not understand the finance jargon used in dealerships, despite new FCA rules clamping down on dealers selling what’s better for them rather than the customer. Motorists are demanding more transparent advice on the best way to finance a car than they currently get from the typical dealer.

New rules from the Financial Conduct Authority aim to discourage dealers from selling finance based on the commission they earn, rather than deals that best suit the individual customer’s needs.

BuyaCar interviewed over 400 customers of mostly traditional car dealerships about their recent car buying experiences and discovered that motorists would like to have greater transparency and independent advice from their dealers, which is tailored specifically to them.

The research reveals widely varying levels of finance expertise among car buyers with almost one in two car buyers saying they would like to see a salesperson suggest that they opt for a different car or finance package on the grounds of affordability.

Only 32.6% of people say that car finance options are currently ‘completely clear’ to them, with the majority of buyers remaining confused about their car financing options, with one in three saying they routinely ignore dealership salespeople’s advice.

The research shows that there is an overwhelming appetite among motorists for more simple advice, with 39.6% of buyers who need finance saying that they are uncertain about the terminology and jargon used to describe different methods of funding their car purchase.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, in the 12 months leading to November 2020, more than 1.2 million used cars were financed to the tune of £16.2 billion.

Andy Oldham, Chief Executive of, said:

“The eye-watering numbers involved in financing used car purchases in the UK show just how high the stakes are for everyone involved in used car sales – and yet our research shows that many people still want better, clearer advice.

“The need for transparent, friendly, honestly helpful advice could not be underlined more effectively than the fact that only one in ten buyers would be offended if their ability to afford a particular deal was discussed with them, while nearly 40% openly admit that they aren’t sure they understand their options as clearly as they want to.

“We have identified that confidence is the key to a happier car-buying experience and the foundation for confidence is receiving the right help to understand exactly what you are signing up for when you finance your car.”