Following the petrol shortage, sales of electric cars have surged, with a record 33,000 registered in September alone. But is the UK prepared to keep up with the demand?

There are many benefits to driving electric cars, including lowering your carbon footprint, cheaper running costs, and less maintenance. Despite these benefits, a survey from May this year found that only a quarter of consumers planned on buying an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid in the next five years.

However, the fuel crisis highlighted the benefits of EVs and triggered many to make the switch to eradicate their need for petrol. While the fuel shortage is likely a temporary problem, the ban on non-electric car sales looms.

In 2030, new petrol and diesel vehicle sales will be prohibited, and new hybrid cars will be banned by 2035. But research suggests that the UK will likely be reliant on supplies from other countries.

Taylor Studwelding, producers of accessories used in automobile production, have explored how the UK’s EV production rate compares to other European countries and if we’re on track to meet the nearing deadlines.

Is the UK producing enough EVs?

According to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMTUK), UK car factories have produced 137,031 alternatively fuelled cars since January this year. Although this was a 60% rise from 2020, the 33,000 electric cars registered last month already make up a quarter of this figure.

In a report revealing the fuel types of new cars in the UK during Q2 2021, petrol cars still accounted for 48.17% of the UK’s car production, while BEVs accounted for just 8.69%.

Further findings discovered that the overall UK car production rate fell by 27% in August, with just 37,246 manufactured, making it the second consecutive month of decline.

The UK’s production rate compared to other European countries

Recent reports have urged the Government to invest more into the production of electric vehicles (EVs), stating that by 2030, the UK could be manufacturing just 4% of Europe’s EVs, compared to 25% in 2018.

Germany’s output of cars is predicted to rise from 4.5 million yearly to 5.1 million by 2030, with half being electric. BEVs are also expected to account for 86% of the overall car production in Belgium. Slovenia will have one of the highest levels of BEV production per capita, according to Transport & Environment (T&E).

The UK’s output is expected to reduce to just one million, with only 25% battery-powered electric vehicles.

Is investment being made into the UK’s EV production?

In November 2020, the Government announced a £20 million fund to support the EV innovation after confirming the ban on petrol and diesel cars was being pushed forward by ten years, following expert claims that 2040 would be too late.

Following this research, the British car making companies Nissan and Vauxhall owner Stellantis have announced significant investment plans.

Nissan has vowed to invest £1 billion into producing a new all-electric vehicle at their Sunderland plant. In a bid to replicate Tesla’s US battery plant, half of this money is expected to go on battery production.

Stellantis is also set to invest £100 million into its UK Vauxhall production facility to prepare the site for EV manufacturing by the end of 2022.

Jaguar, which has three British plants, plan to sell electric cars from 2025 exclusively. Lotus is also on track to switch to electric vehicles by 2028, and Volvo aims to only sell EVs by 2030.

While these investments into the UK’s EV market is a positive step, it still doesn’t meet the investments in other European countries. In 2019, Germany received a €40 billion investment in EV production.

For the UK to catch up with the EV production rate of other countries, more production plants are needed. There are currently 30 automobile assembly and production plants in the UK, out of 290 in Europe, in which Germany tops the list with 41 plants.

Activists at Action Net Zero Bristol have recently called for shorter-term commitments to be brought further forward by countries coming out of the COP26 summit to contribute to the carbon goals.

Andy Gillings, Sales Area Manager at Taylor Studwelding, said: “Although the UK’s production of EVs appears to have steadily increased in recent years, it hasn’t escalated at the same rate of other countries which are now dominating the industry.

“The demand for EVs from consumers will likely continue to rise, especially as we near the impending deadlines, so the UK needs solid preparation to support the transition from petrol cars.”

“There have been recent investments into the UK’s EV transition, which is encouraging, but it may not be enough to compete with the leading EV producing countries in Europe.

“Further investments into British EV production plants will keep the UK car industry viable, save jobs, and enable us to meet the upcoming deadlines.”

Need more information on using stud welding machinery?

At Taylor Studwelding, we offer several stud welding machines, including automated, Capacitor Discharge, and Drawn Arc systems. For more information on our equipment, get in touch with a member of the team.