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EVs Will Soon Overtake Petrol And Diesel Cars Says BMW

Electric vehicles (EVs) sales will overtake petrol and diesel car sales in just a few years, at least, according to German car giant BMW.

Anticipating the shift, the company wants to make a fully electric version of its hybrid BMW 3 series model, which was among the most popular electric cars in the UK in 2022, according to our latest EV statistics.

BMW’s finance director, Walter Mertl, told The Times that “[t]he tipping point for the combustion engine is already there”.

He stated that sales for BMW petrol/diesel cars had plateaued, and he expected them to start to fall, adding that policies favouring zero-emissions vehicles were accelerating the change.

Here in the UK, for example, under the government’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate for car manufacturers, 22% of sales in 2024 need to be for EVs, or companies face the risk of a fine. This percentage will increase every year until 2035, when the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned.

These types of regulations are causing BMW and other car manufacturers to update their strategies.

BMW, for one, hopes to rival EV front-runner Tesla, by releasing new fully-electric models in the coming years. Meanwhile, Tesla is already facing a challenger, after Chinese car manufacturer BYD overtook it in sales for the first time ever in the final quarter of 2023.

But it's not just car manufacturers being pushed to switch to electric, so are consumers.

parking spots with electric charging sign printed on asphalt

Rising fuel costs

Driving a petrol or diesel car is getting more expensive, especially compared to driving an EV.

This might be one reason why more people are buying EVs, with the number of newly registered EVs in the UK in 2023 growing by 18% compared to 2022, according to ZapMap.

So, why is driving petrol and diesel cars becoming more expensive? Well, rising fuel costs are the key driver. Despite electricity prices also rising, it’s still twice as expensive to fill up a petrol car than it is to fully charge an electric one, and this gap is likely to widen.

The Energy and Climate Change Intelligence Unit (ECIU) predicts that by 2030, it could be up to 4.5 times cheaper to power an EV than to fuel a petrol one.

Road tax (also called VED) is also a factor. Currently, fully electric vehicles don’t have to pay road tax, although this will change in April 2025. Petrol and diesel cars, on the other hand, need to pay a minimum of £180 a year in VED, a number that’s set to rise by around 6% in April, in line with inflation.

However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for the EV market. A big factor making consumers uneasy about switching to an EV is uncertainty about where to charge it.

Where will EVs be charged when they become mainstream?

Public EV chargers could be installed on lampposts, on old green street cabinets, or the UK could even adopt mobile charging in the future.

Lamppost charging spots already exist in the UK, but they could become more common because they’re so easy to set up. Speaking to the BBC, Artis Markots, the chief executive of the Latvian start-up SimpleCharge, asserted that converting lampposts is cheaper than installing fixed chargers.

Meanwhile, UK company Nyobolt has come up with Bolt-ee, a charger on wheels that would roll over to drivers in need.

Of course, the easiest and cheapest way to charge an EV is still by doing it at home.

EV home chargers cost around £1,000 to install, but you’ll make up the cost in a little over two years, since charging at home is almost half the price of charging in public.

Home charging does require a driveway, and since not everyone has one, finding innovative ways to increase the number of public charging spots in line with EV sales is a big challenge.

Unfortunately, there are already signs of trouble on that front, as the government failed to meet its target for rapid chargers on motorways in 2023.

Written by:
Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.
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