A respected international research group is predicting that electric vehicles could match petrol and diesel cars on price by as early as 2025. But some local businesses in the car industry told Express they doubted the prediction would come true.
Electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle sales in Guernsey have been steadily increasing. This trend is expected to continue. But costs are often cited as a major reason holding back even faster growth in new motoring technology.
Forecasts by BloombergNEF, a strategic research provider, predict that the falling costs of producing electric vehicle batteries and the increase in dedicated production lines will soon see electric vehicles on the market which are no more expensive and then cheaper than their petrol and diesel equivalents.
Research showed the price of lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles, dropped by 89% between 2010 and 2020 and most experts in the sector agree that they are likely to continue decreasing in price.
Pictured: Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez said the global and local trend towards electric vehicles was to be welcomed but that they were far from the most environmentally-friendly form of transport.
Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez, President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said these trends were as evident in Guernsey as elsewhere.
"Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular for many reasons, including more competitive pricing, and that trend looks set to continue as battery technology continues to improve and the industry produces electric vehicles at greater scale, which should help to bring the cost down further," said Deputy De Sausmarez.
She said Guernsey has seen an increase of more than 20% in electric vehicle registrations since 2016.
Pictured: Since 2016, there has been an increase of 21.59% in electric car/light vehicle registrations in Guernsey.
"Locally, we are seeing notably more electric and hybrid vehicles registered each year," said Deputy De Sausmarez.
"Together, they made up a quarter of the total annual registrations in 2021, so the direction of travel driven by market forces is clear.
"The increased take up is not just by private individuals but also by businesses and organisations who are making the conscious decision to introduce electric vehicles into their fleets to help reduce running costs and to reduce their climate impact."
Le Mont Saint Garage owner Dave Beausire said that 30% of his sales in 2021 were fully electric vehicles and a further 37% were hybrid electric vehicles. But he said they were not yet cheaper than petrol and diesel cars.
Pictured: An electric vehicle for sale at Le Mont Saint Garage.
“It’s a myth that electric vehicles are cheaper," said Mr Beausire.
"A basic electric vehicle at the moment would be around £20,000 whereas a petrol vehicle equivalent would be around £14,000. Some electric vehicles appear to be coming down in price, but that is because more expensive models are coming on to the market all the time. It is not because electric vehicles are becoming cheaper."
The UK Government has pledged to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Mr Beausire said this would be dependent on the availability of electric vehicles.
“Parts for electric vehicles are extremely difficult to source as a knock-on effect from the pandemic. The 2030 goal will completely depend on enough electric vehicles being available by that time,” he said.
Pictured: Electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle sales in Guernsey have been steadily increasing.
Freelance Motors Nissan salesperson Martin Roussel has also seen an increase in electric vehicle sales.
“We sell about 30 electric cars a year and that number has been steadily increasing,” said Mr Roussel.
“We were early adopters of selling electric vehicles locally and I think it’s great that more people are choosing them because it helps move towards zero emissions which is, of course, better for the environment.”
Deputy De Sausmarez said the increase in electric vehicles was a positive trend but that the vehicles still have a negative impact on the environment.
"While the increasing adoption of electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles in place of internal combustion engine vehicles is a really positive trend, it is not a silver bullet," she said.
"Although electric vehicles don’t generate exhaust pipe emissions, they do - like other motor vehicles - use a lot of energy and resources in their manufacture and production, which comes at a high climate and environmental cost.
"The main focus is to transition to lower-energy and more energy-efficient forms of transport, such as walking, wheeling - meaning bikes and scooters, for example - and taking the bus."
Pictured: Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez said that cycling and walking are more environmentally-friendly transport options than driving electric vehicles.
Director of Whiteway Motors Andre Whiteway is unconvinced that electric vehicles are the future in Guernsey.
“Personally, I don’t see electric vehicle sales overtaking petrol and diesel vehicle sales in Guernsey," said Mr Whiteway.
"Electric cars are not the easiest to sell, they’re not cheaper, and I just don’t see how it will work here."
Mr Whiteway said he believed an increase in electric vehicles on the island would cause problems.
“At the moment, owners of electric vehicles don’t pay any road tax, despite using the same roads," he said. "Petrol and diesel vehicle owners are currently subsidising electric car owners, which I don’t think is right.
"If electric cars become more popular, then they will have to start paying road tax.”
Pictured: Whiteway Motors Director Andre Whiteway fears that users of petrol and diesel cars - still the majority of motorists - are effectively subsidising users of electric vehicles.
Deputy De Sausmarez said the future of motoring taxes was still being considered by the States.
"The Policy and Resources Committee is consulting with us [the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure] in order to ensure any proposals it may potentially include in proposals in the tax review are aligned in terms of their fiscal and transport-related objectives," she said.
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