It was a record-breaking year for electric vehicles (EVs) in 2021. In a market that was otherwise heavily hampered by COVID-19, EV sales thrived, with over 190,000 electric cars sold across the year – an 11.6% share of all new car sales. Come December, 25.5% (27,705) of all new vehicle registrations that month were battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
The numbers above confirm what we already know about the direction of the automotive world for both today and tomorrow: electric is taking over and fast becoming the new normal. With lithium batteries simultaneously getting better and cheaper, sticker prices dropping, range capabilities increasing and manufacturer efforts doubling, all the factors that were holding back widespread commercial progress for EVs are steadily diminishing.
With that in mind, the future of electric cars in 2022 and beyond is looking very bright, indeed. With a number of positive trends set to continue for the electric market over the next 12 months, what are the key EV predictions for 2022?
The positive trajectory of EV sales over the past few years has been nothing short of exponential. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that 190,727 BEVs that were newly registered on UK roads in 2021 represented a 76% increase on the previous year’s sales volumes. Perhaps even more impressively: more fully electric cars were sold in 2021 than in the previous five years combined, according to the SMMT – and that was in a market where new car registrations were otherwise 30% down on pre-COVID levels.
Looking to continue that outstanding growth in 2022, EV sales are expected to land somewhere in the 300,000 range for the coming year, which would represent roughly 15% of the entire market in 2022.
For a little while now, EVs have been outpacing diesel cars in the sales charts. In summer last year, consecutive months (June-July) had higher registrations for EVs than diesel cars, with the market share for diesel sales hitting a low point in August 2021.
While petrol sales are still the dominant force in today’s market and likely will be for some time to come, the increasing shift in focus away from diesel vehicles should mean that sales of electric cars in 2022 outpace those of both diesel and mild hybrid (MHEVs) diesel models.
It’s undoubtedly a marker of major progress for EVs in the commercial market. The next stop is beating out the petrol and diesel market entirely, but we won’t see that for a few years yet.
Naturally, at the start of each year we turn our attention to the best new car releases on the horizon and, unsurprisingly, those lists are becoming increasingly more electrified every year. In our recent blog on the best new car releases for 2022, we featured a number of electric options spanning the full spectrum of BEVs, MHEVs and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), including the Ferrari 296 GTB, the Audi Q6 E-Tron, the MINI JCW GPE and the Pininfarina Battista.
Turning our attention to the luxury end of the mainstream market, there are several new electric cars for 2022 in the UK market that are creating plenty of buzz. The arrival of the BMW i4 is one of the most hotly anticipated for 2022, while the release of the hyper-luxurious Mercedes EQS represents the start of new a highly exciting era for the three-pointed star.
The Q6 E-Tron will also arrive towards the end of 2022 as one of the flagship models for the new generation of crossover SUVs. Offering outstanding range and incredible power, the expected RS version of the Q6 will likely offer 600bhp and 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds.
As a natural accompaniment to the increase in new EV sales numbers across the last few years, we can also expect the second-hand electric market to continue to blossom. A market still very much in its infancy, electric used car sales really started to ramp up in the third quarter of last year, with SMMT reporting a 56.4% increase in demand for battery electric vehicles and a record-breaking 14,182 BEVs changing hands across the three-month period.
Although 2021 Q4 figures have yet to be revealed, the number of sales during the last few months of 2021 and projections for the coming year suggest we’ll continue to see record-breaking quarters for the used electric car market. This should in turn drive average electric car prices down and see more electric drivers hitting the road than ever before.
With the UK’s EV bandwagon firmly up and running, the question of buying an electric car for most car buyers is already a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. At Jardine, we’re starting to see a palpable shift towards electric production from many of our key brands, including BMW, Mercedes, Audi and plenty more – and a number of the best electric cars for 2022 can be found right here in our new and used catalogue.
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