Text size


The Rise & Rise of Electric Cars

The Rise & Rise of Electric Cars


Motoring journalist, John Swift, looks at the continued rise in popularity of all-electric and hybrid cars.

Almost daily we read of another car maker plugging into the electric vehicle revolution and announcing a new battery powered model due out soon.

DS, the luxury and sporting arm of the Peugeot Citroen (and now Vauxhall) group, is just the latest to say it will soon unveil its first all-electric car. We’ll get to see it this September at the Paris Motor Show and it should be on sale next year.

DS Logo coming soon a new all-electric DS car

Unusually, although perhaps in a brilliant masterstroke, the DS will not be a high-expense car, but a small hatchback or more likely a compact SUV and its technology could underpin the next generation Peugeot 208 in electric form, the Citroen C3 and possibly a future Vauxhall Corsa.

Its targeted range? 280 miles…

That's a journey from Chester to Plymouth on just one charge! No range anxiety with this electric car.

M5 motorway to the all towns South West

By 2025, DS will sell only plug-in hybrid or pure electric cars. Volvo has said that from next year every new model it launches will be electric or plug-in hybrid.

The VW group from Porsche to SEAT will have them, Jaguar is well on the way with its I-PACE being joined by the all new XJ in 2019/2020. From Ford to Ferrari and Bentley to BMW, any car maker who wants to stay in business will have to have pure electric or hybrids and have them quickly.

Bright orange Jaguar i-Pace on display at the Geneva Motor Show

Anyone in the car trade will tell you that the focus is China, the biggest car market in the world for EV growth, but the UK is still a significant place too. What makes us attractive to car makers is the rate of growth here. Despite the well-publicised restraints on electric cars such as their cost, availability of recharging points and getting them serviced, the fact remains that in the past three years the number of them on UK roads has more than doubled. (Up by 128% if you want to be precise.)

Between April 2015 and 2018 there were 21,000 more electric vehicles, a tiny number in the scale of things that’s true, but we can all see which way the wind is blowing. Five years from now the national car parc of some 32 million vehicles will look very different given the perfect market conditions for EVs.

White VW e-Up! parked on a pretty street with a young man looking back and admiring it

You can see the pull of growing customer demand in one direction and the push of manufacturer output giving us a much greater choice of models married to ever better technology, infrastructure, falling costs and growing confidence from the other.

Where they meet in the middle will be rich pickings for both buyers and sellers.

One motor trade analyst with an expertise in electric vehicles, Chris Plumb, who works for research group, cap hpi, said: “Drivers are showing growing confidence in the technology as the real-life ranges of vehicles increase and faster charging is available. Manufacturers also provide more choice with many now providing an all-electric option.

“Electric vehicles can also make financial sense with total cost of ownership and tax savings. Increasingly, people are saying they enjoy the driving experience in electric vehicles. As clean air zones roll out across the UK, we expect the popularity of these cars to continue to grow.”

Beautiful scene with blue clean skies

The top four best selling new electric vehicles so far in 2018 are:

● Nissan Leaf

● BMW i3

Volkswagen e-Golf

● Renault Zoe electric

Which electric cars have the longest range?

The top five electric cars (sold in the UK) by range come from just two manufacturers, Tesla and Volkswagen. Tesla is at the very premium end of the EV market and takes the 1,2 and 3 spots in the top five with its Tesla Model S, Model X and the Model 3. Volkswagen aims its electric cars at a wider market and comes in the 4 and 5 spot with the e-Golf and the e-Up!