Demand for battery electric vehicles has increased by more than 30 per cent 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 October 25.
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 Mr 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 that 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”.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: “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.”
On the rush for compliant cars, Rupert Moylett, director of Harringtons of Fulham, said: “We’ve had one of our best past three months in quite a long time, as everyone is trying to get rid of their diesels. Prices of quite a few of the cheaper used cars have gone up. I’ve noticed a couple of other garages have been struggling to get stock, but we’ve been quite lucky.”
In Richmond, one of 14 suburban boroughs that will be bisected by the new Ulez boundary, up to one in four vehicles will be liable for the 24/7 charge. According to TfL, most households in 10 of the 14 boroughs directly affected by the Ulez expansion have at least one car.
Mr Khan, who has allocated £61 million to scrappage schemes to help low-income or disabled Londoners, small firms and charities upgrade vehicles, said the £130 million preparations were on track for October 25. A network of 750 cameras is being built to spot non-compliant vehicles.
Mr Khan told the London Assembly: “I have seen no indication of there being a delay on October 25. We deliberately telegraphed that date years ago to give businesses and others notice. If it was the case that the October 25 date wasn’t going to be met, which it isn’t, we would let people know as soon as I knew.”
Keith Prince, transport spokesman 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.”