Skip to content

EVs Are Failing To Break Into Mass Market

February 13, 2023

By Paul Homewood

EV sales are have been steadily rising in the last few years. Last year, BEV (Battery Only) registrations totalled 267,000, 16% of all cars, 77,000 up on 2021, (the graph also includes hybrids).

Nevertheless at that rate of increase, BEV sales will only be about 900,000 come 2030, around half of all sales.

But is this increase sustainable? If we look away from the overall numbers, and zoom in on which models are being sold, we get a much changed picture:



The Teslas that account for a fifth of all BEV sales cost £44,990 and £42,990 respectively, based on RRP. The Niro and ID.3 are only marginally cheaper at £36795 and £39,254, and the Polestar , BMW and Audi are dearer than the Tesla.

Only two cars on the list come in at under £30,000 – the Leaf and Mini at £28,995 and £29,000, and these only account for 6% of EV sales. This Top 10 list accounts for nearly half of all BEV sales.

Quite simply, most of the cars on the list are totally unaffordable for the vast majority of drivers, as arguably are the Leaf and electric Mini. BEVs have not yet managed to break into the mass market.

A look at the Best Sellers list shows where the market lies:


Ignoring the Tesla, the dearest car on the list is the Kuga, priced at £30,755. The Qashqai and Corsa retail at £26,405 and £18,065 respectively. There is absolutely no sign at the moment that owners of any of these cars are going to replace them with an EV. Part of the reason is, of course, the cost. But a major factor is also the impracticability of BEVs for most drivers,

The sort of driver who can afford 50 grand for an Audi Q4 will very likely have a second car in the garage for longer trips.

The simple reality is that there is only limited demand for the upmarket cars currently dominating the EV sector; and many of these sales are for company cars, bought mainly for tax reasons.

Until BEVs can break into the mass market sector, it is hard to see how they can ever be more than a niche product. (At least, that is, until proper cars are banned!)

  1. Curious George permalink
    February 13, 2023 7:32 pm

    Why is a luxury item failing in a mass market?

  2. that man permalink
    February 13, 2023 7:37 pm

    If/when their fuel is taxed to the extent of ‘fossil’ fuels, the bottom will drop out of the market.
    In the meantime, their road use is effectively being subsidised by ICE owners.

  3. February 13, 2023 7:50 pm

    It’s all part of the agenda to stop non-elites from travelling at will.

  4. Realist permalink
    February 13, 2023 8:03 pm

    The range problem with EVs should have been fixed before even launching them on the market at all. What person is going to buy something LESS practical and simultaneously more expensive?
    And where are the normal size EVs? The market is more than only city runabouts. Just look at the size of most EVs.

      • Realist permalink
        February 14, 2023 11:55 am

        The market doesn’t want small cars – that is a niche for people who live in cities, never transport anything and never venture outside those cities. The market needs normal size cars. The classic ones would be Ford Cortina, Vauxhall Cavalier, Ford Sierra

    • dennisambler permalink
      February 14, 2023 10:30 am

      “What person is going to buy something LESS practical and simultaneously more expensive?”

      Applies to everything labelled “green.”

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      February 14, 2023 5:03 pm

      According to the IEA half of all EV models available are SUVs.

      As such they require more powerful batteries containing lithium, nickel and cobalt not the lower energy density lithium iron phosphate suited for shorter range vehicles.

      • Realist permalink
        February 14, 2023 5:48 pm

        At least the EV manufacturers are partially listening to the market. The only reason there are are not more SUV on the road whether ICE or EV is that most people cannot afford them. They always used to be called “estates” or “station wagons”, just slightly higher and the option of 2 or 4 wheel drive. The problem with some is that they are permanent 4-wheel drive.
        Also very strange that allegedly “off road” vehicles have automatic transmissions and none come as standard with a towbar.

  5. Charles Wardrop permalink
    February 13, 2023 8:40 pm

    Like all substitutes for the real thing, EVs are dud as well as non-Green.

  6. In The Real World permalink
    February 13, 2023 8:42 pm

    This Winter , with EVs at about 1 to 2 % of road vehicles , there have been daily power cuts over a lot of the country .Often explained away as ” Routine Maintenance ” or ” line faults ” , but mostly because there is not the capability to charge them up .
    And if about 20% of all vehicles were EVs and wanted to charge up at any time , it would need double [ 100% ] increase in generation capacity .
    Along with their cost and chances of them bursting into flames at any time , it is no wonder that people are starting to realise that EVs are a stupid idea .

  7. February 13, 2023 9:01 pm

    The last couple of times I’ve stopped at a motorway service area, all available charging points have been occupied with vehicles waiting. This is not practical motoring.

  8. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    February 13, 2023 9:04 pm

    The whole point for these dubious choices of transportation is to eliminate emissions. Yet electricity still requires generating. Which inevitably requires burning fossil fuels to meet increasing needs.
    As the current experiment in London demonstrates, emission free vehicles are purely another highly expensive tax.
    Which in reality causes real harm to people, as they struggle to meet daily living costs.
    Sadiq Khan’s selective use of data is the latest attempt by politicians to use modelling to justify unpopular decisions.

    Charging people to pay for the privilege of driving their cars in communities already forced to choose between heating and eating could cause more harm to health than the benefits it brings.

    • Michael permalink
      February 14, 2023 11:30 am

      “The whole point for these dubious choices of transportation is to eliminate emissions.”

      I think you may be under a false illusion. The real agenda is to eliminate private car use/ownership.

      • Realist permalink
        February 14, 2023 11:51 am

        The real agenda with all the anti–car hysterics in recent years is to kill mobility for all except the very rich and politicians.

  9. GeoffB permalink
    February 13, 2023 9:09 pm

    The buyers of EVs are……..Business owners taking the tax benefit, Early adopters who are well off (and a bit silly) and car dealers to boost registrations
    and sell on as demonstrators to the typical car buyer who buys on colour and shape and appreciates money off and has no technical knowledge and trusts the dealer.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 13, 2023 9:20 pm

      You need to add to your list those who have subsidised solar panels and use EVs to soak up any excess summer generation that they get paid an export tariff for. Literally money for nothing. I have a neighbour (obnoxious bastard) who boasts about it.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 14, 2023 7:59 am

      And fleets e.g. government agencies and car hire companies. I occasionally hire cars in France and everyone has 3 or 4 EVs for hire. I suspect they will get a rude awakening when they try and sell them on though.

  10. liardetg permalink
    February 13, 2023 10:27 pm

    I’ve asked several times incl my MP whether the government plans to ban the import of ICE vehicles. Anyone know? Answer comes there none.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 13, 2023 11:54 pm

      I doubt they have thought that far ahead.

    • Andrew Harding permalink
      February 14, 2023 12:50 am

      They never will!

      Five minutes of refuilling my petrol car! I can drive several 100’s of miles!

      The heat, from my engine keeps me and my passengers warm!

      Electric cars, several hours of re-charging the batteries that continually become more inefficient as they age! Driver and passengers shiver!


      Because electric cars are currently inefficient!

      Manipulative morons, believe that an increase in atmospheric CO2 of 415ppm is going to eradicate all life on Earth?

      Well we are here and CO2 was once 500x higher and we are still here?

      Why, because mind controlling idiots want Societal Change! Why, because they can manipulate the weak willed,

      Do you seriously think that an essential atmospheric gas of a 0.04% is going to devastate humanity?

      Research and question what you are told?

      • Caro permalink
        February 14, 2023 12:24 pm

        Agree – and the man made portion is only 4% of the total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, about 16 ppm. How can that change anything, let alone the climate.

      • W Flood permalink
        February 15, 2023 12:33 pm

        Dutch tomato growers work in an atmosphere of 1000 ppm in greenhouses and come to no harm.

  11. John Hultquist permalink
    February 14, 2023 3:35 am

    Next questions.
    When one trades an EV for a new car, do they buy another EV?
    Is the trade-in value in line with the trade-in value of a gasoline auto?
    How easy is it for the dealer to re-sell an older EV?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 14, 2023 8:07 am

      I very much doubt it. The second-hand market is by definition about price. I cannot see how somebody willing to spend say £10,000 on a relatively new car will instead pay £13,000 for a second-hand EV that’s worse than their £10,000 ICE alternative. Without tax breaks etc a second-hand EV is worth what’s its ICE equivalent is worth. That implies a much bigger reduction for EV from new owners than they are used to. And if batteries deteriorate faster than the rest of the car, then you wouldn’t pay £10,000, you’d pay less than that. And the additional weight of an EV impacts the life of other compo ends so again, rational buyers would knock off value there too. Where this really hits is things like rental fleets that ry on high resale values for their business model. If EV resale values are lower than ICEs then rental rates for EVs need to be higher too. But that means far fewer rentals.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        February 14, 2023 10:40 am

        If a second hand self charging hybrid came in at roughly the same cost as a pure ICE then I’d be choosing on some other criteria than cost pf the vehicle like running costs. I know of s Prius that’s done over 200k miles reliably

  12. Brian permalink
    February 14, 2023 6:35 am

    What happens when the EV battery needs replacing at massive expense?
    Can someone provide a list of the cost of new batteries please, for the cars listed in the article.
    Buying a second hand EV in say 5 years time, could be a very risky purchase.
    This could mean that ALL the existing EVs will have to be scrapped, because they would be unsaleable.
    This would result in a dramatic reduction in the expected number of EVs in circulation.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 14, 2023 8:12 am

      That’s potentially a big problem. If a new battery costs say £5,000 then that’s £5,000 off the price of a second-hand EV. And EVs weigh more so there’s more wear on other components too. Without subsidies and tax breaks, a second-hand EV will be worth less than its equivalent ICE version, even before we look at range etc. I think its possible that in a few years second-hand EVs have a negative value whereas there ICE equivalents are still worth £5,000. That’s a disaster for everyone.

  13. Adamsson permalink
    February 14, 2023 6:50 am

    The important thing to remember is if you are lucky enough to pay higher rate tax and can buy a company car with a salary sacrifice scheme you save 40 or 45% and pay virtually no tax on an electric car. No tax on the fuel either!
    To those that have shall be given more and to those that have not shall be taken away even what little they have.

  14. Bill Francis permalink
    February 14, 2023 7:42 am

    If there were any intelligent ‘climate experts’, they would not be promoting electric vehicles with all their myriad problems, but designing and building a car that uses carbon dioxide as its fuel. That way, they could satisfy their religious climate beliefs and actually do something practical about reducing carbon emissions, instead of pontificating and destroying the economy and many peoples’ lives.

    • Chris Phillips permalink
      February 14, 2023 8:32 am

      I assume this comment is tongue in cheek? Carbon dioxide is the result of burning a fuel – it cannot thermodynamically be a fuel itself. To turn the carbon in it back into a fuel you would have to input more energy from somewhere else than you’d get back from the resulting fuel.

  15. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    February 14, 2023 7:43 am

    Grant Shapps needs to explain why BEV are good for people when it has long been known the UK cannot generate enough electricity for their use.
    Nor are the profits from their manufacture and sales going into this country’s coffers; begging the question why are these novelties promoted as a serious form of transportation ?

    Energy cost of charging electric cars: There are serious implications for the electrical power generation in the UK needed to recharge these vehicles. Using figures published for current EVs (Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe), driving 252.5 billion miles uses at least 63 TWh of power. This will demand a 20% increase in UK generated electricity.
    First published 5 June 2019, in a letter authored by Natural History Museum Head of Earth Sciences Prof Richard Herrington and fellow expert members of SoS MinErals (an interdisciplinary programme of NERC-EPSRC-Newton-FAPESP funded research) has today been delivered to the Committee on Climate Change
    “Leading scientists set out resource challenge of meeting net zero emissions in the UK by 2050 | Natural History Museum”

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 14, 2023 8:16 am

      What “profits” from ICE cars go into the country’s coffers? And our labour can only produce one thing so if they are not producing EVs they are producing something else.

  16. Peter B permalink
    February 14, 2023 8:16 am

    The most affordable family EV, too recent to be on the list, is the MG4, still not cheap at £26k, but the first of a wave of much more affordable EVs coming soon from China.

    • roger permalink
      February 14, 2023 3:24 pm

      Coming soon from China…..
      Electronic additions freely included although balloons are an optional extra.
      Prototypes of your new vehicle so equipped may be seen selectively at between
      20000 and 40000 over North America.
      You know it makes sense!

  17. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 14, 2023 8:19 am

    I’m curious as to how EVs are supposed to become so much cheaper when the basic components and manufacture are the same as ICEs (but perhaps more costly due to weight issues) but batteries and an electric motor cost far more than an ICE engine and a fuel tank? How does an EV become cheaper? This seems to be based on fantasy wishful thinking g that “mSs production” (which we already have) will somehow overcome the price of raw materials.

    • Bill Toland permalink
      February 14, 2023 8:40 am

      The fall in the cost of batteries over the last decade was driven entirely by improvements in manufacturing efficiency. However, raw materials now make up 76% of the cost of batteries. Since demand for the raw materials used in batteries is increasing with greater numbers of electric cars, the price of these raw materials will only rise in the future. This guarantees that the cost of batteries will rise in the future, not fall. This has become very obvious in the last year with battery prices soaring.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        February 14, 2023 12:53 pm

        Yes that’s my point. Once you have the scale benefits in the bits that are different – motors and batteries – the rest is already at scale production. EVs aren’t like mobile phones, they are mostly pre-existing technology and manufacturing. The ability to reduce costs significantly isn’t obvious at all.

      • Dave Andrews permalink
        February 14, 2023 5:18 pm

        The IEA’s global EV Outlook 2022 (May 22) said that lithium prices had risen 700% since the start of 2021. It will be interesting to see if that rate rise has continued when the publish their 2023 Outlook

  18. StephenP permalink
    February 14, 2023 8:52 am

    Looking at the news about the earthquake in Turkey and Syria the only vehicles working were the big diggers and emergency vehicles. This set me thinking about the practicality of EVs in such situations, espec8ally as the electricity supply seems to be non-existent as well.
    This led on to the practicality of machines that do the heavy lifting and pulling that needs doing all the time, especially as having to carry a heavy battery around at the same time. It seems like having one arm tied behind one’s back, let alone the problems with recharging.
    Back to the drawing board seems to be indicated.

  19. Brian permalink
    February 14, 2023 9:14 am

    How is an EV’s battery pack replaced, given that it is in the floor pan?
    Is it a body off job ?
    What special kit and cost involved?
    Can you DIY it?
    What extra Labour costs are involved over and above the cost of the new battery?
    Can a Techie out there explain please.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      February 14, 2023 5:42 pm

      The Chinese company Nio has developed a ‘smart swap out’ battery station system and installed a number of them in China.

      It has also recently opened a station in Norway where EV use is more advanced than most European countries due to the financial incentives Norway provided based on its huge sovereign wealth fund derived from its large oil resources!

      You lease the battery and pay a monthly charge. This reduces the initial cost of the car though the monthly charge can be around £200.

  20. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 14, 2023 9:41 am

    Ford has announced job cuts in UK/Europe as they reconfigure for EV only production.
    Their strategy is to move to lower volume high end vehicles.
    More confirmation that the move to EVs will mean only the rich will continue to own private cars, mass manufacture of affordable mass market EVs doesn’t look viable to Ford.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 14, 2023 10:53 am

      Not in Europe, at least. Ford may simply be moving the production, not ending it.

      Mexico, Brazil and India are probably way better places than Europe for manufacturing.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        February 14, 2023 11:15 am

        Ford’s stated new business model is lower volume, high end, globally.

      • Gamecock permalink
        February 14, 2023 12:23 pm


        (Not doubting you, just curious to see it.)

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        February 14, 2023 3:14 pm

        “Ford will also be attempting to move away from being seen as a mass-market supplier of relatively cheap, everyday transport.

        Instead, it wants to develop a slimmer line-up of more exotic vehicles, which exploit evocative brand names – something it has already done with the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.

        It also wants to focus on its portfolio of commercial vehicles, notably the Transit.”

        Earlier in the article it might imply this only applies to Ford Europe. But anyway, they explicitly say this is the reason for UK/Europe restructuring, not any of the numerous economic issues.

      • Gamecock permalink
        February 14, 2023 8:06 pm


    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 14, 2023 12:59 pm

      Which means fewer of those good, high-skilled manufacturing jobs around. At what point does the tax/public services/jobs/Green crisis hit I wonder? Been interesting reading social media commentary this week on how despite rising taxes, the tax take has stayed very static as a % of GDP. We may have reached the Laffer Curve peak (or passed it I suspect) so we are at a very unstable position in many ways. I can’t see the next Labour government pushing through lower public spending and jobs cuts.

    • johnbillscott permalink
      February 14, 2023 1:33 pm

      One has to wonder if there is any strategic thinking in Ford. EV’s will never be affordable to the masses and ICE vehicles will be around for many years because Net Zero is, rightfully, unraveling as it is nothing more than a hypothesis that cannot ever be achieved. A major impediment is the limited supply, mostly controlled by China, and spiraling cost of minerals particularly the rare earths. It would seem that EV’s will never be more then 20% of the market

      The hydrogen bubble is bursting for many reasons, such as high costs, but the rare earths to make the necessary membranes are limited.

  21. Edward J Cook permalink
    February 14, 2023 9:47 am

    We’ll run out of the raw materials needed for the batteries long before they dominate the market, and as the raw materials become ever harder to extract and mine the price will creep higher and higher. The less well off will be priced off the road.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      February 14, 2023 1:46 pm

      That’s the plan.

  22. Mad Mike permalink
    February 14, 2023 10:36 am

    It seems used EV sales are in trouble and prices are falling while ICE used car prices have increased. Interesting article here with many quotes from members of the trade which gives the impression that there is no clear cut conclusion as to why this is happening.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 14, 2023 1:02 pm

      We know exactly why it’s happening – more people want a used ICE than want a used EV. That’s how markets work! And everywhere where tax incentives/subsidies are reduced or withdrawn has shown that EV sales then fall significantly. Politicians simply continue to assume their wishful thinking rules the day. But it doesn’t.

      • Realist permalink
        February 14, 2023 2:15 pm

        Even brand new, more people want and need ICE, but most people cannot afford new vehicles (not even ICE), so they buy secondhand, either “bangers” or ex-company cars.
        It varies depending on where you live, but in most places the only new cars are company cars.

  23. February 14, 2023 11:02 am

    You have to smile every time you hear the words ‘up to’ in a battery car advert as they give the fantasy maximum range. Funny how we never need that for a proper car….

    • February 14, 2023 12:19 pm

      ‘Up to’ just means ‘less than’ in adverts.

  24. RichardW permalink
    February 14, 2023 12:27 pm

    BEV sales have more or les flatlined – 12.% in Jan ’22, 13.1% in Jan ’23. I suspect this is the limit of tax payer bribed company users. Mad Mike above also points out something that I have been thinking would happen for a while – i.e. all the subsidised EVs are coming off lease, and the dealers are trying to sell them on to ‘real’ punters. Who, unsurprisingly, aren’t that interested!!

  25. Victor Luke permalink
    February 14, 2023 8:13 pm

    I guess Britain is waiting for the 6K Sterling Chinese BEV imports to break into the market.

  26. George Lawson permalink
    February 15, 2023 10:56 am

    When comparing the cost of electric vehicles with internal combustion vehicles, we must always bear in mind the cost of buying a new battery for an electric car that will need to be replaced at a cost of up to £10,000 in less than ten years. This is actually no more than a deferred payment on the cost of the vehicles purchase price from new, which in effect means that a £40,000 EV will cost £50,000. over a ten year period. This should always be built in to the EV price when comparing prices with ICE vehicles,

    • February 17, 2023 2:19 pm

      which in effect means that a £40,000 EV will cost £50,000 over a ten year period.

      Yes and no. It will go another 10 years on the new battery, in theory at least.

  27. Cheshire Red permalink
    February 16, 2023 1:56 pm

    We’re talking about what they want us to talk about while the real reasons for EV’s go unmentioned. This suits TPTB just fine.

    Government know full-well the number of EV’s will be significantly down on ICE sales…because that’s the whole point of the policy.

    They’re willingly sacrificing auto makers just as they’ve chosen to lose steel, aluminium, oil and gas companies.

    We’re at the beginning of a mass de-industrialisation program. It’ll take many lifetimes and many decades to achieve.

    They’re normalising tight controls, limited personal choices and restricting consumption.

    Look at every big government policy and it all feeds into the control / command narrative. All of it.

    We’re now little more than lab mice.

  28. Brian permalink
    February 17, 2023 6:51 am

    Spot on Cheshire Red. The info is hidden in plain view, but very few folk get it. When we are all living in 15 minute cities, car hire will look a better option than owning an expensive EV. Meanwhile everyone is distracted by stories of UFO’s, Royal shenanigans etc. etc.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: