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One out of three used cars in UK will be electric by 2030

Electric cars will take up a third of the secondhand car market in the UK by 2030, new research has found.

With battery electric vehicles already account for 16% in new car sales according to the latest data from the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

And in 2021, secondhand battery electric car sales accounted for just 0.5% of the market – 40,000 or so EVs out of the 7.5 million used cars that changed hands.

But this is set to change – and rapidly, according to an analysis by UK company LV General Insurance.

Gill Nowell, head of electric vehicles at LV General Insurance, stated the obvious regarding the firm’s findings: the more secondhand EVs there are for drivers at a price point they can afford, the more people will be able to make the switch to clean transport.

“While the average annual running costs of electric cars are significantly cheaper than petrol or diesel cars, the sticker price remains one of the big barriers for drivers considering making the switch, which is why these projections for a thriving second hand market by 2030 are so encourage,” she said in a statement, as noted by Transport and Energy.

The insurance firm took data from the UK department of transport and its driver and vehicle licensing agency, known to most as the DVLA.

Looking at a number of factors including how many used cars change hands and how many are taken off the road each year, it projected figures to work out how many are likely to be all-electric by 2030.

There were nearly 400,000 battery electric cars on UK roads by the end of 2021 (more than ten times that of Australia), but with the UK government pushing to cut out the sale of new combustion vehicles altogether by 2030, it is expected this figure will change dramatically over the next seven years.

By 2030, it is expected that there will be 6.4 million battery electric cars on UK roads, improving air quality as well as the transport sector’s contribution to the country’s carbon emissions.

This will account for 19% of the UK’s national car fleet. However, the insurance firm notes that with government mandates demanding carmakers sell minimum numbers of EVs, this figure could be even higher.

“The rapid development of the second-hand market is so important and can’t come quickly enough – the more electric cars on the road, the more upfront costs will come down, creating competition in the market and ultimately meeting our goals of making the nation’s roads greener,” says Nowell.

Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organizer of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.

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