Tesla Model 3 to be Favorite Battery Electric Car on UK Roads | Automotive industry
The Tesla Model 3 has become the most popular battery-powered electric car on UK roads after a spurt in sales as the race for supremacy intensifies in the new era of the auto industry.
The number of Model 3s on UK roads overtook Nissan’s Leaf models in the first four months of 2021, according to calculations by independent Matthias Schmidt Electric car analyst. There are now 39,900 Model 3s in the UK, compared to 38,900 Leafs, many of which are built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.
The Model 3 population lagged slightly behind the Mitsubishi Outlander, the most popular plug-in hybrid, in April, but the Tesla is set to become the most popular car that can be plugged into a plug-in in a matter of months.
Electric car sales are increasing in rich countries as traditional automakers face tougher carbon emissions regulations and the prospect of bans. New cars that rely solely on gasoline and diesel engines will be banned in the UK from 2030, and hybrids that combine engine and battery will be phased out after 2035.
Sales of battery-powered electric cars continued to grow, albeit from a low level. As of May 2021, 232,000 electric cars had been sold in the UK, a ten-fold increase in five years, according to think tank New Automotive. According to figures released on Friday by the UK auto lobby group Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), battery-powered electric cars accounted for 8.4% of total sales in May.
Traditional automakers have offered a number of new electric models, though Schmidt said the Tesla Model 3 would likely be the UK’s most popular model for a “relatively long period” due to its narrow range of products. However, the Model Y crossover SUV could quickly become the most popular British version of Tesla after 2022.
Globally, the US automaker was the largest seller of electric cars in 2020, but two European automakers – Germany’s Volkswagen and Stellantis, a product of the merger of Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler – sold more electric cars in Western Europe than Tesla in 2020 in the first three months of the year, according to that Schmidt’s research.
“The Volkswagen Group is bringing a number of new products onto the market, but the quantities are spread across a relatively large number of models, from the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 to the Audi Q4,” said Schmidt.
Ben Nelmes, policy director at New AutoMotive, said the Model 3 was “a revolutionary car” because of its impact on other automakers and forced them to accelerate the rollout of their own electric models.
“The speed at which the Tesla Model 3 rose from zero to market leader has shown other automakers the power of electric vehicles,” said Nelmes. “They tear their strategies apart. The manufacturers are bringing more electric models onto the market and driving the growth of the market. “
More than 100 plug-in car models, including battery electric and hybrids, are available to UK buyers, and the SMMT determined that 35 more are due to hit the market this year.
As the cost of making electric cars comes down, other automakers are hoping to develop truly mass-produced cars that are cheaper than the Model 3, which at a minimum of £ 40,990 is still out of reach for many. Volkswagen is rapidly ramping up production of its small family car ID.3, while BMW hopes that the Oxford-built electric mini will build on the success of its petrol version.
Despite the flood of new electric models, the challenge is to electrify the British fleet of 35 million cars – and actually reduce CO2 -Emissions make sense – remains enormous. The number of Teslas on UK roads is only a tiny fraction of the number of internal combustion engine models. In 2020, there were nearly 1.6 million Ford Fiestas in service in the UK and 1.2 million Ford Focuses, according to SMMT.
An electric car model must generate up to 500,000 sales in the UK to make it into the top 10. The market for used electric cars is growing rapidly as the first generation of models is being passed on, but it will be years before electrics reach people who cannot or cannot afford a new car.
Automobile manufacturers are also facing a major challenge in ramping up the production of electric cars. Nissan announced on Friday that the release of its electric SUV Ariya had to be postponed due to the global shortage of computer chips. Cars already use up to 100 chips to control functions from air conditioning to entertainment touchscreens, while electric cars rely even more on chips to control their batteries. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter this week that prices are “rising due to industry-wide price pressures in the supply chain.”
The industry is also concerned that fleet electrification efforts in the UK and elsewhere will stall even without further public investment in charging points across the country.
Mike Hawes, the managing director of SMMT, said the demand for electric cars helped the new vehicle market recover from the recent lockdown, but he and others in the industry have repeated that charging access is an issue.
“Electric cars must be an option for everyone. Through consistent, long-term tax incentives, the government can help and create the right conditions to enable much-needed investments in charging infrastructure, particularly public street charging in residential areas, “said Hawes. “We have to make charging as easy as refueling.”