2024: Predictions by seven EV experts
The latest insights from the world of EVs
Hello, and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
For today’s final edition of 2023, I reveal predictions from seven leading experts about what 2024 could hold for the EV sector.
Before that, thank you for continuing to read this newsletter each week. I’m thrilled that after three years it’s still going strong and I’m happy to confirm it will return on Tuesday 9 January 2024. Whatever you’re doing in between, I wish everyone a merry festive period and a happy new year when it arrives!
As ever, if you have any thoughts or feedback, do get in touch via my contact details below or reply to this email.
Seven EV experts and what they expect in 2024
As this year draws to a close, there are nearly one million full-fat battery EVs in the UK – that’s up by around 290,000 compared to last year.
With the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate starting from January – which means carmakers have to ensure 22% of their sales are fully electric next year – we can expect the numbers making the switch to increase with pace.
However, there remain challenges to people making the move, such as vehicle affordability. And while 2023 has seen huge strides in many areas – such as the recent charger regulations – 2024 could be the biggest year yet for EVs, particularly as we face down an election.
To better understand what next year may hold, I’ve sought views from seven leaders and experts from across the EV industry.
Broadly, their insights cut across four key themes:
Cost and affordability
The general election.
Here they are, and thank you to all those who contributed predictions and comments.
1. Driver experience
Thanks to new charger rules, England’s EV Association hopes to see fresh innovation in 2024
“The chargepoint regulations have come into force, so you’d expect to see better reliability and contactless payments become standard. We may also see some interesting uses for the open data, but perhaps the growth of new apps and innovation will be in my predictions for 2024.” – James Court, Chief Executive of EVA England
Meanwhile, ChargeUK’s chair predicts the rules will boost confidence
“Increased consumer confidence in public charging infrastructure off the back of the new consumer regulations and the 99% uptime requirements.” – Ian Johnston, Chair of ChargeUK and CEO of Osprey.
2. Sector collaboration
Even as EV businesses get more competitive, there is a feeling that in 2024 we need to keep working together
“We’ll see increased cross sector collaboration with organisations like – but not limited to – the SMMT, BVRLA, and the OEMs as we seek to make the positive case for the electrification of transport in the UK. We look forward to working with stakeholders including government, local authorities, and DNOs to deliver the recommendations in our ‘Accelerating the roll out of public charging infrastructure’ report.” – Ian Johnston, ChargeUK
Energy giant bp agreed, highlighting a push towards ultra-rapid charging
“Looking ahead, I anticipate industry-wide collaboration to address challenges like grid connectivity, evolving standards, streamlined planning processes, and securing suitable land. For bp pulse, our focus remains on expanding diverse hubs – Gigahubs with or without convenience, manned, or unmanned stations – all prioritizing ultra-fast charging.” – Akira Kirton, vice president bp pulse UK
EVA England said knowledge of charger deployment across CPOs and councils will keep growing
“My predictions for the industry, especially the CPOs, is that we will see a greater uptick in deployment. Local authorities will be using the LEVI funding and the knowledge from both councils and CPOs is growing. We’re still a long way away from 100% and there are still frustrations with planning, connection and regulations, but it’s moving in the right direction.” – James Court, EVA England
Meanwhile, Auto Trader suggested the sector should expect new challenges
“The old adage that ‘change is the only constant’ feels particularly pertinent in the maturing electric market as this year we’ve seen new entrants, new legislation, and new consumer challenges continue to reshape the landscape.” – Ian Plummer, Commercial Director of Auto Trader
3. Cost and affordability
Octopus EV called out 2024 as the year drivers find benefits in the second hand market
“As the ZEV mandate kicks in, we will undoubtedly see an influx of brilliant electric cars hitting the market - with new EV specialist brands, as well as the incumbent car manufacturers raising their game to bring drivers more choice and driving down costs. The second and even third hand market for electric cars continues to grow and 2024 will be the year that drivers can find real value. We’re seeing the popularity for our own second hand salary sacrifice leasing offer take off, as drivers take advantage of these cut-cost, fun to drive, green cars.” – Natalia Peralta Silverstone, Head of Propositions at Octopus Electric Vehicles
Meanwhile, Autocar predicts the “year of discounts”
“2024 will be the year of discounts in electric cars for private buyers. The growth of EVs has been fuelled by fleets and company car buyers so far, but growth has now stalled and to hit a 22% market share they need to increase sales by around 50% on the current run rate. As the SMMT is predicting the market to rise overall slightly in 2024, it’s not like the market share can be increased artificially even if sales don’t grow simply by throttling back sales of other powertrains.” – Mark Tisshaw, Editor of Autocar
So how will EVs be incentivised next year?
“Given the government’s reluctance to reintroduce incentives for private buyers of EVs, that will have to come from dealers and manufacturers. EVs are already the most discounted powertrain according to data from our sister brand What Car? and that’s going to increase next year.” – Mark Tisshaw, Autocar
Though even with discounts, the headline cost for new EVs could remain high
“We won’t see the cost of EVs come down yet, and quite the opposite as batteries are only getting bigger: Peugeot putting a 98kWh battery in an e-3008 is the best example. That’ll be £50k-plus for 430 miles-plus of range. Clearly range anxiety still lingers.” – Mark Tisshaw, Autocar
Auto Trader predicted prices for new cars are reducing
“We’re expecting the new electric car market to continue the price reduction trend we’ve been reporting – with new electric cars currently enjoying an average 9.3% discount compared to petrol’s 7.6% – as manufacturers do all they can to stimulate new EV demand. In terms of how this impacts broader market dynamics, it’ll be the nearly new electric cars that will really feel the brunt of this and, with no incentives and burgeoning supply, they’re likely to be a key watchpoint for market health.” – Ian Plummer, Auto Trader
There is a feeling that any EV sales failure in 2024 will be laid at Downing Street’s door
“The government is to blame for this situation where distressed sales are needed after they trashed consumer confidence in EVs by confusing people by moving the 2030 ‘ban’ to 2035 when the reality of the ZEV mandate remained unchanged.” – Mark Tisshaw, Autocar
Elsewhere, FairCharge pointed out the often forgotten wider cost benefit from EVs of the jobs they will create
“Accountancy giant PWC reckon that by 2030 the UK market for cleantech could be worth £518 billion every year, creating up to 725,000 new jobs. Even if you hate electric cars on a cellular level, the prospect of all that economic activity and highly paid, highly skilled new workers must look like an attractive way of boosting our GDP." – Quentin Willson, Founder of FairCharge
One policy area we will see come up with more strength in 2024 is VAT, with numerous businesses looking for alignment between public and private rates
“We look forward to further discussions with government in 2024 on aligning VAT on public charging with the VAT regime on home charging.” – Ian Johnston, ChargeUK
4. Election time
There is hope but some nervousness for the election in 2024 given everything this year
“The election is the biggest unknown for me, obviously we don’t know when it will be, but for campaigning organisations like ours we’ll be on high alert from April onwards. General elections are a double sided sword, you obviously have the opportunity to put forward your agenda and hope to influence the manifestos, but there’s also the risk, especially for EVs, that you could take some flack and have to do defensive work.” – James Court, EVA England
Others agree saying motoring will be a key part of the election debate
“The election will be fought with motoring issues and EVs at the forefront as it’s such a good proxy for the cost of living crisis and an easy way of political point scoring, as the Uxbridge by-election revealed.” – Mark Tisshaw, Autocar
But, there is hope in 2024 that the bulk of the anti-net zero calls may be behind us
“After a 18 months of blistering anti-EV rhetoric from politicians and press we found out that only 37 MPs voted against the ZEV mandate compared to 381 in favour. Those siren back bench voices aren’t as numerous - or influential - as they pretended.” – Quentin Willson, FairCharge
Which could hopefully mean fewer negative media stories
“I’m going to stick my neck out and say that the huge deluge of negativity, especially from some parts of the print media, will ease up. The 2035 phase out is now law, and was passed by a Conservative government who those same newspapers will be backing and will fall back in line.” – James Court, EVA England
That’s all folks, please do let me know if you agree, disagree, or have a different prediction for 2024. And do share.
Here’s to another exciting 2024! And I leave you with a Christmas miracle, reinforcing James’ point, yesterday The Sun published its most helpful EV story to date – debunking seven popular EV myths (including clown pictures)! Read it here.
By Tom Riley | Check my Linktree for LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter