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Our 2040 EV adoption timeline | Review

Posted March 19, 2020 by Roseanne

It's been 3 years since we created our 2040 EV adoption curve infographic and it's safe to say a lot has happened. Take a look at James Mckemey's reflection on the world of EVs since 2017.


Back in 2017, the UK govt announced the idea of phasing out sales of conventionally fuelled vehicles by 2040. It caused uproar, there were countless denunciations of this as utter madness. Meanwhile, at Pod Point HQ, we tended to think it was a bit of a soft announcement. We’ve always thought the game will be up before then.

One lunchtime we sat about trying to indicate some pointers on the path to mass adoption, that became the infographic that featured in the Fully Charged episode in early 2018.

Now, nearly 3 years on, we decided it’s time to take a look at what’s really happened over the years and add a few updates to the infographic below.

So, how’ve we done in general?

It’s early days, but alright!

The main issue is the inflection point for cost parity between ICE cars and EVs is now predicted in 2022. So we’re a couple of years early for that inflection, but the arrival of the 0% BiK rates for company cars may see a similarly rapid uptake this year. The main market surge will likely come two years later.

However, the timings are still broadly right.

One of the most alarming things to happen recently was to be giving training at Volvo’s Training and Development Centre in Daventry and finding Volvo themselves suggesting 50% of their sales will be full BEV by 2025 - which puts them on course with our uptake graph. This is a commendable ambition, particularly as Volvo does not currently sell a single BEV. They will have to go from 0-50% in scarcely over 4 years. But, it was alarming as it felt like Volvo were shaping global production policy to fit with our graph - they aren’t, obviously, they just see the same trends and want to be on top of them.

Things we didn’t predict

0% BiK rates for company cars

The government ran a consultation on what to do with company car tax in summer 2016. The industry screamed that rates had to be lower (they were scheduled to rise rapidly) and BEVs must have a preference over PHEVs. The govt agreed and in early 2017 announced a 2% rate from 2020 onwards… but kept the increases in place prior - ARGH! Aaanyway, we are almost through those increases (BiK on BEVs is currently 16%). Furthermore last year the govt’s planned 2% became 0% (!!!) for the first year starting in April 2020, then just 1% the year after and 2% out to 2022. This is great news. Sales of company BEVs are set to SOAR.

Government moves the ICE phase out forward at least 5 years and include hybrids

We always argued 2040 would prove redundant, so we aren’t super surprised, but it came quicker than we had expected. We’re also not surprised to see hybrids included for phase out (see “Hybrid Zone” - the (relatively brief) period where hybrid makes sense as a transitional tech). We were also surprised how little controversy it caused, the mindset has shifted a lot over 3 years. Erik’s potential BBC news stint got cancelled in favour of coverage of the US Democratic Party Debates - a clear sign the public no longer consider electrification controversial.

The rise of Greta Thunberg

Climate change felt very relevant in 2017. It feels like it’s the issue in 2020. Quite rightly too. The diminutive Swede and her legion of supporters have helped raise this up the agenda.

UK government legislates to hit net zero by 2050

A by product of the above and an enabler for the first point, Theresa May’s tenure in Number 10 will not likely be remembered as a particularly winning one, however passing the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 law may be more substantial than much of what her predecessors have achieved and her successors will achieve. It is not an intention. It is law. Mock the “Maybot” all you like, but we all have cause to congratulate her on this.

Things we’d add now if we could

Arrival of the Tesla Model 3 into the UK market

It’s not the only reason things are crazy busy at Pod Point currently, but it’s definitely been a major catalyst to extraordinary growth that is not showing signs of slowing.

The VW ID-R records

It would have taken alarming prescience to call it, but the achievements of the ID-R at Pike’s Peak in 2018 (smashing the record by >15.5 seconds) and the Goodwood Hill Climb in 2019 (smashing the record by over a second - previously held by a Formula 1 car) really have shown the world that developing petrol cars in the hope of them being fast is… er… cute. Fiddling with the already obsolete internal combustion engine is something for the modern day Fred Dibnahs of this world, not those interested in performance, innovation or technology.

Going harder on residual value collapse for ICE cars

There were drafts of the infographic where we made this point. But, still today, we're seeing regular luddite comments about how “I’ll NEVER buy an electric bloody car!” etc. It’s really important to point out that the people who believe this will be in such a small minority that the residual values will fall so much that leasing of ICE cars will be impossible by ~2030 - totally killing dead sales.


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