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The Guardian reports that electric cars became more relevant after the UK started running out of fuel on Friday. The source refers to the business at Martin Miller’s electric car dealership in Guildford, Surrey as the sales increased.

After what ended up being his company EV Experts busiest day ever, interest does not appear to be dying down. This week the diary is booked up with test drives and the business is low on stock.

“People buy electric cars for environmental reasons, for cost-saving reasons, and because the technology’s great,” he said. “But Friday was one of those moments where people said, ‘Do you know what, this is a sign that we need to go electric’.”

While the craze at petrol stations due to shortages begins growing up across the country, a major part of electric vehicle (EV) dealers feels a boost of sales. 

EVA England, a non-profit representing new and prospective EV drivers, reports a rise in electric car inquiries and in interest at EV dealers, particularly in the last week.

“Saturday was bonkers but Friday even surpassed that, it was very strange,” said Miller, who founded his company four years ago. “I’ve now got trade-in cars with no petrol to move them.”

There are at least two core reasons why this is happening: the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone and the fuel crisis, he said. “People were using it as ‘this is the moment where I’m not going to put this off any longer.”

The EV market is no longer the preserve of innovators and early adopters, he said, with the most popular models the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen ID 3, and Jaguar I-Pace.

Ben Strzalko, the owner of Electric Cars UK in Leyland, Lancashire, said that as a small business it would take a few months to feel the knock-on effect of the fuel crisis on sales.

But every time there are problems with petrol or diesel, he said they acted as “one more tick for people making that transition to electric cars”.

He said “a lot of electric car owners will be chuffed to bits this last week” being able to plug in their cars at home. And as an EV driver himself, he admitted feeling a little smug as he drove past queues of 20 cars outside petrol stations over the weekend in his Tesla.

The National Franchised Dealers Association also confirmed about dealers who faced a sharp rise in EV requests since the start of the crisis. 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported “bumper growth” in the sale of EVs in July. The statistics show that battery electric vehicles comprise 9% of sales. Plug-in hybrids accounted for 8% of sales and hybrid electric vehicles nearly 12%. Besides, in July registered EV outnumbered diesel cars for the second consecutive month.

The UK has pledged to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and of new hybrids by 2035.

Warren Philips, the volunteer communities director at EVA England, said the tipping point for EVs had already been reached but the fuel crisis “underlines how electric cars could work for the majority of people”.

He added: “The interest is already there, this just adds to it. 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.”

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