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Shortage of electric cars looks set to derail sales boom

Sales of electric cars have been booming in recent years but restricted production of new models looks set to derail the nation’s switch to plug-in vehicles, according to a new report.

Drivers wanting to make the switch to an electric vehicle are facing long delays for cars to arrive, in some cases up to two years from the point of ordering, research by Electrifying.com has revealed.

The combination of surging demand together with a global shortage of semiconductor chips and other key components that has wreaked havoc on the wider automotive industry for the last two years is now starting to have a crippling impact on the availability of the latest electric models.

And we can tell you how long, on average, you might have to wait to get your hands on a brand new electric car if you placed an order for one at a dealership today.

Is the electric car sales boom about to be derailed? Supply issues means customers are being quoted lead times on orders of between 3 months and up to two years. A Vauxhall Corsa-e (pictured) ordered today will not arrive until around December

Just four months ago, popular models including the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Mokka-e and the Renault Zoe were freely available, however, buyers now face waiting times of up to four months to get their hands on one, the website said. 

At the more luxurious end of the market, consumers could be waiting for up to 18 months for an Audi E-tron, which costs from £63,000.

Comparatively modest models including the Kia EV6 (from £44,195) and Skoda Enyaq (£42,435) come with waiting times of more than a year.

The current climate has even led to Elon Musk’s Tesla brand pausing production altogether for the Model X and Model S in order to meet the higher demand for its smaller – and more affordable – Model 3 and Model Y.

Estimated waiting times for 34 of the most popular new electric cars

Audi e-tron: 18 months

Audi Q4 e-tron: 18 months

BMW i4: 9-12 months

BMW iX: 3 months

Citroen e-C4: 3 months

Cupra Born: 3 months

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense: 4 months

​Fiat 500e: 5-6 months

Ford Mustang Mach-E: 9-12 months

​Hyundai Ioniq5: 7 months

Hyundai Kona: 2 months

Jaguar I – Pace: up to 6 months

Kia Niro EV: 3-6 months

Kia EV6: 12-15 months

Kia Soul: 12 months

Lexus UX300e: 12 months

Mazda MX-30: up to six months

Mini Electric: 6-9 months

Nissan Leaf: 5 months+

Nissan Ariya: 7 months

Peugeot e208: 6 months

Peugeot e2008: 6 months

​Polestar 2: 6-8 months

Porsche Taycan: 12 months

Renault Zoe: 3-4 months

Skoda Enyaq: 18 months

Tesla Model S: 18-24 months (NO PRODUCTION)

Tesla Model X: 18-24 months (NO PRODUCTION)

Tesla Model 3: 6-9 months

Tesla Model Y: 3-6 months

​Vauxhall Corsa-e: 3-4 months

​Vauxhall Mokka-e: 3-4 months

​Volkswagen ID.3: 12-18 months

Volkswagen ID.4: 7.5 months

Source: Electrifying.com. Data accurate as of 10 August 2022

The Vauxhall Mokka-e electric SUV was readily available in April. A slowdown in production means orders placed today won't arrive for up to 4 months

The Renault Zoe supermini is also subject to waiting times of up to 4 months, Electrifying.com says

Back in April, a car buyer ordering a Mokka-e (left) or Renault Zoe (right) would have had a car delivered relatively quickly. However, today, customers face waiting times of up to four months to get their hands on one, Electrifying.com says

It comes after over two years of the wider automotive sector being strangled by the shortage of semiconductor computer chips – a problem that arose during the first Covid lockdowns.

Parts supplies have also been hit by the war in Ukraine, which has seen production and sales of new cars plummet way below pre-pandemic levels.

UK car makers said the industry is ‘facing its most challenging year for three decades’ and has forecast that just 1.6 million cars will be registered in 2022 due to restricted availability – that’s almost a third (31 per cent) less than in 2019 (2,311,140 registrations).

Electric cars had – until now, it appears – been bucking this trend.

With electric vehicles subject to affordable finance payments, lower benefit in kind tax and available via salary sacrifice schemes, even very expensive models like the Audi e-tron are proving popular. Waiting times on one is now 18 months

With electric vehicles subject to affordable finance payments, lower benefit in kind tax and available via salary sacrifice schemes, even very expensive models like the Audi e-tron are proving popular. Waiting times on one is now 18 months

One of the latest - and most stylish - electric family cars to hit the market is the Kia EV6. If you order one today you can expect it to arrive in winter... 2023

One of the latest – and most stylish – electric family cars to hit the market is the Kia EV6. If you order one today you can expect it to arrive in winter… 2023

Skoda's Enyaq iV is a [by electric car standards] relatively affordable family EV. However, you won't be able to get your hands on a new one for at least 18 months, dealers have told customers in August

Skoda’s Enyaq iV is a [by electric car standards] relatively affordable family EV. However, you won’t be able to get your hands on a new one for at least 18 months, dealers have told customers in August

In the first seven months of 2019, only 14,246 battery-electric vehicles were registered; in the same period in 2022 some 127,492 EVs have been bought – a staggering increase of 795 per cent.

It’s believed that many manufacturers have been prioritising the manufacturing of electric models, not only due to better profit margins but also to meet emissions targets set out by the EU to lower the CO2 output of their vehicle ranges. 

However, electric car specialist website Electrifying.com says the boom in EV sales could soon hit a road block due to model shortages.

Having asked dealers and brands about the lead times on their latest models, founder of Electrifying Ginny Buckley, said: ‘This is a difficult time for both consumers and the car industry, yet electric cars are bucking the trend, with sales increasing by 50 per cent compared to this time last year. 

‘Unfortunately, as we head towards September which is typically the busiest time for new car registrations, this surge in demand together with supply chain issues and chip shortages has led to significant delays for many drivers.’

Tesla isn't currently quoting an estimated delivery time for the Model S on its website, such is the long delay

The Model X SUV is also currently not being made as Tesla prioritises the output of the Model 3 and Y. Electrifying.com says a new Model X will arrive in 2 years

Semiconductor shortages means Tesla has had to prioritise which of its cars it is producing. The more affordable Model 3 and Y are in big demand, which means the expensive Model S (left) and Model X (right) are delayed by a staggering 2 years

The BMW i4 - the electric alternative to a 3 Series saloon - hasn't been available to order in the UK for long, but already the German brand is quoting lead times of 9 to 12 months

The BMW i4 – the electric alternative to a 3 Series saloon – hasn’t been available to order in the UK for long, but already the German brand is quoting lead times of 9 to 12 months

The VW ID.3 is one of the nation's most popular electric cars. However, Volkswagen isn't able to make them quickly enough to appease demand due to component supply issues, which means orders placed today won't turn up for another year and a half

The VW ID.3 is one of the nation’s most popular electric cars. However, Volkswagen isn’t able to make them quickly enough to appease demand due to component supply issues, which means orders placed today won’t turn up for another year and a half

Buckley says supremely popular models like the Volkswagen ID.3 were ‘freely available’ this time last year but now have waiting times of ‘up to 18 months’.

‘And dealerships are telling us this problem isn’t going away any time soon,’ she warned. 

‘If you can be flexible with your tech, trim and colour, then some cars may be available sooner. 

‘Don’t expect remarkable offers, though – with stock so low and competition so high, bargains are becoming increasingly hard to come by.’

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