While there was some disappointment early today with news that Renault Nissan will miss its target of 1.5 million electric vehicle sales by 2016, there was some cheer in the electric vehicle market with news that sales in the UK are now at record highs. Under the UK government's £5,000 electric car grant scheme, the authorities revealed that 1,149 new electric vehicle registrations were completed in the third quarter of 2013, which is an increase of 25% on the previous quarter.
This is the highest number of new electric car registrations since the scheme was introduced back in January 2011 and would seem to indicate that UK appetite for electric vehicles is stronger than ever.
Momentum continues to build
While there is no doubt that the £5,000 grant scheme introduced by the UK government back in 2011 is making a difference with regard to electric vehicle sales, there is certainly growing momentum on the ground. The last 12 months have been a monumental period in the history of electric vehicles, having risen from the doldrums and concerns about finance in America to reach a record high in the UK. Indeed, even news that Renault Nissan will be four years behind its initial target of 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2016 does not seem to have had a major impact upon sentiment.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "I agree 100% with your comments about the new Honda FIT EV and believe that this could be a major turning point for the electric car industry. On the surface the deal seems too good to be true but maybe electric car manufacturers are finally waking up to the fact they will have to incentivise motorist before they turn to the electric car industry en masse?"
As we have mentioned time and time again, it seems that governments around the world have now gone beyond the point of no return and continue to plough money into the industry. Technological advances are grabbing the headlines and while there were hopes that battery technology would be further developed than it is at the moment, there are many reasons to be optimistic in this particular field as well.
Is mass-market penetration on the way?
The Holy Grail for the electric vehicle market is entry into the mass-market which many had thought was highly unlikely just a couple of years ago, but now seems inevitable in due course. Demand for electric vehicles is impressive across the US and indeed despite the economic downturn demand is also beginning to pick up across Europe. We can only guess how further forward the industry would have been without the worldwide economic turmoil of recent years but the fact it has come through such a difficult financial period says everything for the underlying strength.
There are still many sceptics out there who are convinced that electric vehicles will never gain mass-market notoriety but there numbers are falling. There is no doubt that the industry itself has flattered to deceive on numerous occasions in the past, but is now reaching out further than it ever has done. It will be interesting to see if there is a significant pickup in electric car sales when worldwide economies recover fully and indeed whether mass-market penetration is just around the corner.
Despite criticism from various quarters the UK government has maintained a focused approach to electric vehicles and indeed the likes of Nissan have announced plans to manufacture electric vehicles in the UK. The £5,000 grant scheme seems to be doing the trick and catching the eye of consumers and at this moment in time, despite some disappointment at Renault Nissan missing its initial sales forecast, there seems to be growing momentum within the sector.