VW emissions scandal causes a shortage of electric cars

Buyers drawn in by greener driving and rock-bottom running costs

A recent surge in interest in electric cars means that new buyers are having to wait for their new vehicles as global orders outstrip supply around the world.

A national car leasing company says it’s finding lead-in times for orders on electric cars are lengthening as people turn their backs on petrol and diesel cars for a greener driving style.

The Flexed.co.uk car lease company says that the Volkswagen emissions scandal is being cited as the prime reason customers are ordering electric cars as they look to become green drivers, as well as running costs at just a few pence per mile.

“We’ve seen enquiries for electric cars go through the roof in recent weeks,” says Flexed.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall, “Petrol and diesel cars just aren’t getting a look in.”

Not only that, Hall says, the new buying trend is for fully-electric cars, with hybrid sales remaining essentially static.

“There seems to be a wave of disgust at Volkwagen over the emissions scandal, and it’s driving customers away from petrol, diesel and hybrid cars, no matter what the make.”

Instead, says Hall, it’s 100% electric cars that are currently leading enquiries for motorists. And no wonder, with current prices making purchasing or leasing an electric car worthwhile. Drivers are attracted by:

• Vehicle prices which compare favourably with petrol and diesel equivalents
• Electric cars have no emissions, so pay no road tax
• Running costs are as little as 3p per mile, a quarter of the cost for petrol cars compared with an average of 13p per mile for petrol cars
• Speed, performance and range have vastly improved dispelling the electric car ‘milk float’ image
• Easily-accessible rapid charging points now available across the UK, with main dealers offering free forecourt charging

One factor that’s slowing the production of electric cars is a world shortage of cobalt, one of the key components of the high capacity, high performance batteries that have driven the technology.

“There’s only so much battery production in the world, and a sudden peak in customer orders for electric cars globally means longer lead-in times for orders,” says Hall.

“The end result is competition among manufacturers for battery components, and the spectre of higher prices,” he says.

With 2016 looking like it’s going to be the year that electric cars make the breakthrough into everyday use, the pressure is on manufacturers to increase production of cars, batteries and charging facilities.

“The motor trade was well prepared for increased interest in green driving this year,” says Hall, “But they’ve been caught out by the spike in orders following the VW scandal.”

Flexed.co.uk says drivers should be patient if they’re looking to switch to an electric car, because longer order lead-in times aren’t the end of the world.

“Electric cars are no longer the preserve of the rich minority,” says Hall, “They’re now available to anybody who wants a reliable, green, cheap-to-run car.”

“The days of spending £50 per week to fill up your polluting car will soon be over.”