While there have been several high profile cases this year of electric vehicle owners having to deal with power shortages in New Zealand and the United States, things are somewhat different in the UK right now.
Numerous UK petrol firms have reported that they ran out of fuel as early as last Friday, as a result of a national trucker shortage that’s causing strain on deliveries of all sorts of products around the country.
This in turn has caused panic buying all over Britain, with petrol one of the biggest targets. It’s been reported that people are having to queue for, in some cases, hours just to top up. Some stations have even temporarily closed. The shortage has parallels with a similar fuel crisis that hit the US in May.
A curious indirect result of the shortage has been a reported surge in electric and plug-in electric vehicle sales. Speaking to the Guardian, EV specialist car dealer Martin Miller said that the Friday that petrol stations began to experience issues was his busiest day ever.
“People buy electric cars for environmental reasons, for cost-saving reasons and because the technology’s great. But Friday was one of those moments where people said, ‘Do you know what, this is a sign that we need to go electric’,” he said.
“Saturday was bonkers but Friday even surpassed that, it was very strange. I’ve now got trade-in cars with no petrol to move them.”
While electric vehicles aren’t as quick to refill/recharge while on the run, and public chargers are less prolific than petrol bowsers, owners are typically able to charge their cars overnight. Meaning a full theoretical tank of energy each morning at a cheaper price than petrol.
EVA England committees director Warren Philips says that the crisis simply compounds existing interest in alternative-fuel vehicles in the UK.
“The interest is already there, this just adds to it,” he said. “And going forward with things like Cop26, with the climate crisis, with the cost of fuel probably going to rise … people will start looking at electric cars where you just skip that entire step.”