Europe Fintech

Research Finds UK is Falling Behind in the Global Shift to Electric Vehicles

The top ten countries leading the electric vehicle race and setting the standard for lower carbon emissions has been revealed, and the UK is falling far behind in 7th position.

Car and van hire comparison website have looked at the countries leading the way with electric vehicle sales and calculated a global leaderboard – with the UK having much to do to catch up with its European neighbours.

By researching the sales numbers and market share of electric cars for the ten leading countries and cross-referencing against population figures and the number of electric vehicle charging points, has revealed the nations ranking best and worst in the world.

The findings reveal that the UK has 373,600 electric vehicles on the road, which works out at a whopping 4,935 Brits per electric vehicle. And for every single public charging point, as it stands, the UK has 27.66 electric vehicles.

The UK’s market share of electric vehicles is middle of the pack which brings the UK’s final leaderboard position to 7th.

In comparison, neighbouring European countries such as Norway and the Netherlands can boast far better statistics. Norway for example, has 13.32 people for every electric vehicle, ahead by some distance, and considerably better than the UK. Norway doesn’t make electric cars cheaper; it makes petrol and diesel-powered cars far more expensive than they are in other countries.

When looking at the infrastructure and charging points, the Netherlands comes in top position with a score of 3.64 electric vehicles per public charging point and the UK has 27.66. Again, the UK falls behind by a fair distance.

In the UK, electric cars sales still represent a tiny proportion of new vehicle sales each month, but there has been some growth in this sector.

In October 2020, battery electric vehicles had a 6.6 per cent share of the market, with plug-in hybrids at 5.5 per cent, diesel at 14.9 per cent and petrol taking 49.5 per cent.

Government policy has helped to nearly double the electric vehicle stock year on year since 2012, and the UK is in a great position to further improve as it has the largest EV battery manufacturing plant in Europe. But as it stands, Britain is falling behind in the global shift to electric vehicles when looking at other leading countries.

To spearhead improvements, the British Government introduced the ‘Road to Zero” strategy which means in the UK switching to an electric vehicle will soon be a requirement for new car buyers. In 2030 a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will come into force.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote that the government will “invest more than £2.8 billion in electric vehicles, lacing the land with charging points and creating long-lasting batteries in UK gigafactories. This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030.”

A spokesperson for said “For many, electric vehicles offer several benefits over petrol or diesel vehicles. Lower fuel costs, reduced maintenance bills, and zero or discounted car tax are just some of the ways that running costs are lowered.

“They are more convenient, as you’re able to charge the vehicle at home, and some say they even offer a better driving experience. Not to mention that it helps reduce the impact on the environment, such as lowering carbon emissions.

“There is now a societal need to switch to electric cars, and the UK’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy is just one country’s commitment to the cause. All over the world, a race towards a fully electric society is taking place, and some countries are doing better than others.”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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