Research from Volkswagen Financial Services UK (VWFS) shows that annual finance cases for battery electric vehicles (BEV) surged 160% from 2020 to 2021.
This trend is all the more impressive considering the level of volatility the automotive industry has faced in recent times, with EV sales increasing in spite of Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the semiconductor shortage.
The data also highlights that demand for electric vehicles has rocketed since the pandemic, with annual EV finance cases soaring 436% between 2019 and 2021.
Volkswagen Financial Services UK's data insights team suggest that the nation has become more invested in green and environmentally friendly travel over the past two years, with many people changing their attitudes towards sustainable transport in lockdown.
This is backed up by recent research which shows that a third of Brits (38%) are living more sustainably – such as buying more plastic-free products and recycling more – since the Covid-19 pandemic*.
Furthermore, people are also now more likely to buy an EV (26%) than use public transport (24%) or buy a petrol or diesel car (19%) compared to before the pandemic.
Volkswagen Financial Services UK has named Swindon as the nation's top EV location, with more finance cases for electric cars activated in the Wiltshire town than anywhere else in the UK last year.
Regionally, however, the Midlands is the UK's EV hotspot, with Stratford-upon-Avon, Tamworth and Solihull all listed in the car finance provider's top five locations for EV finance activations in 2021. Guildford in Surrey completes the top five.
Volkswagen Financial Services UK also reported that they activated more finance cases for the Volkswagen ID.3 than any other electric car in 2021, followed by the Porsche Taycan, Audi Q4 e-tron and Volkswagen ID.4.
The automotive industry is investing heavily to bring an ever-increasing number of electric models to market and figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that one in three models currently on the UK market are electrified vehicles, whilst a quarter are plug-in or fuel cell vehicles and one in 10 are BEVs.
The UK government is due to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and has announced a £2.8 billion windfall to support a nationwide switch to electrification, including £582 million for vehicle grants, £1.3 billion for grid capacity and charging infrastructure and £1 billion for industrial and supply chain transition.
With more than 37,000 battery electric car sales last year, the Volkswagen Group became the clear market leader in the growing zero emission battery electric vehicle sector in 2021.
Mike Todd, CEO at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: "The UK's electric car market is in overdrive at the moment and the rapid acceleration of demand for electromobility has led to a phenomenal growth in this sector. We've never had more EVs on our roads than we do right now, but I think the challenge in the short to medium term is to ensure that the public charging network keeps pace with the increasing popularity of electric vehicles. Industry leaders have reported that to meet the government's decarbonisation targets, we need to transition from one in a hundred cars on our roads being electric, to potentially one in three in just eight years. It's a tall order but if our data is anything to go by, I believe we are well on our way to achieving these important milestones."