Electric car shortage in Britain means long wait for drivers to get one


Dealers put the brakes on electric car orders: Drivers wanting to make the switch could have to wait more than a year to buy one as availability runs dry

  • MG dealers have suspended new orders for ZS EVs due to lack of availability
  • Waiting times for a new Tesla Model S or Model X are now up to two years
  • Volkswagen and Skoda have also deleted some electric cars from their line-ups
  • Electrifying said drivers wanting to make the switch should expect to have to wait for at least 12 months for orders to be delivered 

British car dealers are running out of availability of new electric vehicles and are starting to pull the plug on new orders, according to reports.

Drivers intending to make the switch to an electric vehicle are discovering they might have to wait a minimum of 12 months before they can get behind the wheel of a new car due to a shortage of availability. 

Waiting times for Tesla’s Model S and Model X are now up to two years and in some instances dealerships are putting the brakes on new orders of popular plug-in models, including MG Motor’s ZS EV.

Electric cars are selling out: The availability of some EVs is starting to run dry, with dealers pulling the plug on new orders for popular models, including the MG ZS EV pictured

Demand for electric cars in the UK has surged massively in recent months.

One in eight cars registered in May were fully electric models, as more drivers make the transition away from petrol and diesel motors. 

However, this huge demand has come at a time when manufacturers’ outputs are being heavily limited by ongoing economic factors.

The continued shortage of semiconductors since the beginning of the pandemic is restricting production of all new cars, though tech-heavy EVs are effected more due to their greater need for computer chips.

A logjam in the supply of other car parts usually produced in Russia and Ukraine since the war began earlier this year has added to delays. 

This combination has forced carmakers to slow down outputs of new vehicles and caused huge lead times for deliveries.

This has even led to some brands closing order books altogether, especially for popular and affordable models. 

MG Motor UK dealers have suspended orders for one of its electric models following an 'unprecedented level of demand' for the vehicle, according to Electrifying.com

MG Motor UK dealers have suspended orders for one of its electric models following an ‘unprecedented level of demand’ for the vehicle, according to Electrifying.com

The UK availability of the ZS EV - which starts from £29,295 and offers a range of up to 273 miles. It is one of the electric cars that had previously been available for the recently-closed Plug-in Car Grant

The UK availability of the ZS EV – which starts from £29,295 and offers a range of up to 273 miles. It is one of the electric cars that had previously been available for the recently-closed Plug-in Car Grant

MG, for instance, says it has now suspended orders for its £29,295 ZS EV following an ‘unprecedented level of demand’ for the vehicle, according to Ginny Buckley, founder of EV website Electrifying.com.

The ZS EV is the cheapest fully-electric SUV sold in Britain and offers a range of up to 273 miles. It was also one of the 23 models that qualified for the Plug-in Car Grant, which the Government terminated earlier this week.

The closure of the scheme means models like the ZS EV became £1,500 more expensive. 

The EV website also found that a lack of availability has led Skoda and Volkswagen to delete certain electric models from their Enyaq and ID.3 line-ups.

Buyers could also be waiting up to two years for models including the Tesla Model S and Model X, 12 months for the Volkswagen ID.3 and equally as long for comparatively humble models like the Citroen e-C4.

A Volkswagen dealership told the website: ‘I advise all customers to be a year or a year-and-a-half ahead of the schedule if they want a vehicle desperately. 

‘We don’t think, internally at least, this is going away in a rush. It’s the new norm.’ 

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model X

Buyers could be waiting up to two years for models including the Tesla Model S and Model X

The current estimated waiting time on a new Volkswagen ID.3 (pictured) order is 12 months

The current estimated waiting time on a new Volkswagen ID.3 (pictured) order is 12 months

Electrifying.com found that a lack of availability has led Skoda to delete certain Enyaq IV (pictured) derivatives from its line-up

Electrifying.com found that a lack of availability has led Skoda to delete certain Enyaq IV (pictured) derivatives from its line-up

Buckley says drivers who are keen to make the switch as soon as they can – maybe because their current lease is coming to an end, or they are keen to cash in on the current boom in used car prices – now face massive waiting times to not only take delivery but even to place an order for a battery-powered model.

This also means buyers will find it more difficult to negotiate a deal on a new model, with many other drivers waiting in the wings to pay full price to secure a build slot. 

‘Cars like the VW ID.3 which were freely available twelve months ago now have waiting times of more than a year. 

‘This is down to a perfect storm of increased demand, coupled with a shortage of vital components caused by global events,’ she explains.

‘Dealerships are telling us this problem isn’t going away any time soon, but if you can be flexible with your tech, trim and colour, then some cars may be available sooner. 

‘Don’t expect a bargain though – we have seen many humble family cars which dealers are trying to sell for way above the official list price.’

A new industry report by Bloomberg Intelligence says the shortage of semiconductors in particular will likely see Tesla hold only its global electric cars sales lead for at least another 18 months.

However, if chip availability ramps up, it estimates that Volkswagen is on course to overtake Elon Musk’s brand at the top of the EV sales charts from 2024.

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