ELECTRIC car sales have seen a huge surge in sales despite coronavirus causing months of stagnation across the industry, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

New car registrations in the UK rose for the first time in 2020, increasing by 11.3% compared to July last year, the SMMT said.

The demand for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) continued to accelerate, with sales surging 259% against last year. BEVs are reportedly becoming increasingly popular as government incentives, more attractive price points and improved battery range provide more reasons for drivers to go electric.

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While increasing sales show promise for the automotive sector, industry insiders warn that the EU continues to lag behind in electric lithium-ion battery production, representing less than 3% of global manufacturing capacity.

With lithium-ion battery demand projected to increase ten-fold by 2029, the over-reliance on a few large-scale manufacturers overseas creates both risk and uncertainty for the sector, insiders warn.

Kevin Brundish, CEO and founder of AMTE Power, which operates a battery facility in Thurso, said: “Despite challenging market conditions, the drive towards electrification is continuing to gather pace and is projected to accelerate in the years ahead.

“A shift in consumer sentiment during Covid-19 is fuelling the shift from combustion vehicles.

"This transition, however, is met by limited battery supply within the UK manufacturing supply chain industry. By 2040, over half of new passenger cars sold will be electric, with China and other European markets achieving much higher adoption rates.

“The UK needs to become less dependent on battery cell imports from the Far East and the Government needs to tailor its green agenda by continuing to invest in the creation of on-shore full-cycle battery plants.

"This support for UK manufacturing is in line with the plans set out by the Prime Minister in the strategy to rebuild Britain and fuel economic recovery across the UK.”

AMTE Power is exploring the creation of the UK’s first large-scale 1GWh battery factory.