“2024 will be the year of the cheap electric car”

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks manufacturers will be desperate to sell electric cars in 2024, so look out for some great deals

Opinion - Honda

Nobody will ever sell a car at a loss, will they? So you’d think, yet this is the year that makers will do exactly that; at least if you want an electric car.

As we enter 2024, the government’s zero emission vehicle mandate comes into effect, which states that 22 per cent of every car maker’s sales must be fully electric – or they risk a fine of £15,000 per vehicle sold outside that allowance. Tough, eh? Especially with the current proportion averaging around 16 per cent.

Sure, there are some workarounds with initial flexibilities and a credit-trading system between brands (all-electric Tesla’s phone will be red hot), but it’s likely to be much cheaper to sell a car at a loss than incur a fine – and hope the books balance thanks to sales of non-EVs.

What that means is that we’ll be seeing incredible deals out there – and they’re already creeping through. Honda, for example, recently had a finance deal on its e:Ny1 (as an aside, let’s hope this is the year of proper car names returning, too), which pegs its price against that of an HR-V hybrid. How has Honda done that, you may ask? With an £8,000 finance deposit contribution.

I asked Honda UK’s Head of Automobile, Rebecca Adamson, if the firm was making money on that deal. “Absolutely not,” she told me. “We all know battery electric is a massive investment. It’s never going to be a profit leader for us, but it is the reality of the future of our industry – you have to commit to battery electric.

“We sell a range [of cars], so we balance profit for our business across that range. I don’t think many manufacturers make money on their battery electric vehicles because we’re in the early days. When you build the economies of scale, that’s when it comes through.”

That’s good news if you actually want to buy an EV this year. But making EVs more attractive to more people – through incentives and easier charging – is a big job for whoever is in government through 2024 and beyond.

Click here for our list of the best electric cars on sale right now...

Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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