Electric car shortage ahead of Ulez introduction

Drivers are preparing for the extension of London’s ultra low-emission zone (Ulez) next month, reports Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter

North Circular Road in Edmonton
North Circular Road in Edmonton

Drivers hoping to go electric before the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) expansion next month face waiting lists of up to a year for new vehicles.

Demand for battery electric vehicles has increased by more than 30% in the past year, but a global shortage of semiconductors has meant manufacturers are struggling to meet demand.

But despite the difficulty of buying an electric car the mayor has said he has no plans to delay the expansion of the zone to the inner boundary of the North and South Circular roads on 25th October.

This is because there is no need to own a hybrid or electric vehicle to comply with the Ulez emission rules and escape the £12.50-a-day charge. Most petrol cars made since 2005 and diesel cars since September 2015 will have engines that comply with the Ulez and Sadiq Khan has advised Londoners to switch to a compliant second-hand vehicle.

But used car dealerships are also reporting a “massive” increase in demand for Ulez-compliant cars, with prices soaring and stock issues at some dealers.

Electric vehicle specialist Drive Green has said that a shortage of component parts increased waiting lists of six to 12 months. The car industry expects the shortage of semiconductors to last until 2024 but Drive Green has said delays to electric vehicle manufacturing could “roll on” beyond that date. It said the issue is having a “knock-on effect” for sales of used electric cars with demand up and costs going “through the roof”.

A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders spokesperson: “The global shortage of semiconductors has created an unpredictable and disruptive situation. Vehicle production and supply chains are all being affected and there are no quick fixes.”

Khan told the London Assembly earlier this month he has seen “no indication” that the Ulez expansion will be delayed beyond 25th October.

But Keith Prince, transport spokesperson for the GLA Conservatives, has called for a delay as “the mayor has not played his part in getting London ready”. He added: “He has failed to adequately fund scrappage schemes, there are a lack of available electric vehicles and a lack of charging points.”

Ahead of the expansion of Ulez in October, TfL has said it is supporting drivers who want to make the switch to electric through the delivery of more than 2,000 new electric charging points in the last year.

There are now more than 7,000 charging points for electric vehicles within the M25 boundary, according to TfL.