A couple of weeks ago, I theorised in a blog article that the EV tide had turned – or at least the currents (get it…) were on the move.

As a brief postscript to that blog, let’s examine what has happened in the intervening weeks to add weight to that hypothesis.

First up, the inexorable ascent of Boris Johnson to Number 10 brought with it a new-look cabinet, featuring Grant Shapps as Transport Secretary. Shapps wasted little time in announcing that he is to enlist the help of the Westminster ‘nudge unit’ to help influence public perception of electric cars, by tackling the epidemic of range anxiety.

Leading from the front, Shapps has spent £44,000 of his own money on a Tesla, which he reportedly ordered long before he knew he’d be Transport Secretary. Chapeau, Mr Shapps.

The new Secretary of State also pledged to double government funding for on-street electric car charging, earmarking an extra £2.5m to pay for local authorities to install an estimated 1,000 additional charging points on residential roads. Shapps recently eulogised in the media that there are now more than 20,000 public charging points – double the number of petrol stations, somewhat surprisingly – but conceded there is still more to be done.

He’s right: industry experts suggest that demand for pure electric cars is intrinsically linked to charging infrastructure, so greater investment is precisely what’s needed if more Britons are going to be persuaded to make the switch.

But the fact remains that more Brits than ever are already making the switch. Data recently published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that 14,200 pure electric vehicles were bought from January to August 2019. This is up 71% compared with the same period in 2018. In some cases, the supply of EVs is outstripped by this surge in demand. The hugely popular Kia e-Niro and Hyundai KONA, for instance, both sold out within weeks of going on sale, with both manufacturers having to put a freeze on future orders.

At Torque, we’ve seen the increased appetite for EVs first-hand, having worked closely with MG on the launch of its ZS EV in the UK. This model hit the 1,000-order mark within two weeks of going on sale, with MG offering a boost to the national charging infrastructure by providing each of the first 1,000 purchasers with a complimentary home charging unit.

Many commentators have long since argued that what the EV revolution needs is for someone (with the requisite power and authority) to take it by the scruff of the neck and really force the issue. Maybe Grant Shapps is that someone.

Written by Alex Juggins