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UK becomes Europe’s second largest electric car market

New figures show that the UK has overtaken France to become Europe’s second largest electric car market.

According to new figures from the independent automotive analyst, Matthias Schmidt, 31,800 battery electric cars were sold in the UK in the first three months of this year, compared to 30,500 in France, driven by growing demand for cars with zero exhaust emissions.

These figures highlight a trend seen since the start of 2020, with electric car sales accelerating, partly in response to new emissions rules that could see manufacturers facing heavy fines if their products’ average carbon dioxide output does not fall.

So far this year, battery electric sales accounted for 7.5% of UK vehicles sales, which is almost double the market share they achieved in the same period in 2020.

Figures have shown that 2020 was the first year in which European consumers bought more than half a million electric cars, and that is expected top 1 million sales in 2021.

Germany remains the biggest single market for battery electric cars in Europe, with 64,700 sold in the first quarter and that has been helped by generous subsidies, while other markets such as Norway are proportionately more advanced than the UK. In 2020 Norway became the first country in the world where more electric cars were sold than fossil fuel cars, again, thanks to generous subsidies.

While more car manufacturers appear to be pushing electric vehicle models in the UK, there are concerns that the UK’s charging network is not up to scratch.

YouGov recently polled UK drivers and found that 78% think charging infrastructure is not yet adequate, compared with 65% in the other European countries surveyed.

Neil Tyler

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