Data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that by October more than 75,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) had been registered over 2020, representing more than the total BEV registrations for 2018 and 2019 combined.

Further analysis into these figures by Cornwall Insight shows that the pace of electric vehicle (EV) registrations has already passed the first scenario that was expected under the System Transformation projections in National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios (FES) 2020. The System Transformation scenario the slowest uptake of EVs amongst the three net zero compliant scenarios, highlighted in the below graph. Should BEV registrations continue at the average rates seen over 2020 so far, then the market will be within touching distance of 100,000 annual registrations for 2020.

Jacob Briggs, Senior Consulting Analyst at Cornwall Insight, said:

“COVID-19 has significantly exacerbated the downward trend in the sales of new petrol and diesel cars. However, EVs have continued bucking this trend, with BEV registrations in 2020 already more than double those seen throughout 2019.

“Whilst we could yet reach a great milestone of 100,000 annual BEV car registrations, there is still a significant gap to reach the rates of uptake seen under National Grid’s Consumer Transformation or Leading the Way scenarios.

“This year the growth in EV demand has been bolstered by pent up demand caused by the COVID-19 shutdown. Alongside this has been the improving choice of EVs as well as the support provided by changes to the Benefit-in-Kind tax to the commercial uptake of BEVs.

“The increasing EV demand is a positive signal for the whole EV value chain from charge point operators to energy suppliers, as well as lending support to the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions.”