Why wait? How to beat the queue for a new electric car

Elle Kiai


Demand for electric cars may be surging, but buyers hoping to make the switch are being forced to make a U-turn as factories face months of delays, pushing waiting times for new vehicles to unprecedented levels.

As a result, choosing which electric car you want can be tricky, which is why we will do all we can at Electrifying.com to help you select the right car to meet your needs. From new and used car reviews to our handy beginner’s guide, this article will help you decide which vehicle you should purchase in the hectic current market.

Why do electric cars have such long waiting lists?

Good question. Electric car owners are facing longer than normal waiting times for two main reasons: an order backlog that predates the Coronavirus pandemic, and the on-going conflict in Ukraine.

The pandemic saw a massive surge in orders for laptops and printers as the global population started working remotely. This wiped out existing stocks and meant that factories around the world were asked to produce more. Except they couldn't because many were forced to close because of the pandemic.

How long will I have to wait?

Drivers wanting to make the switch to electric will be waiting for an average of eight months before they can get the keys to their new car, our research has found.

Customers looking to place an order now will have to wait an average of 35 weeks for their new car; a slight increase of 3.1% (from 34 weeks) since the same time in August.

The cars facing the most dramatic increases include big sellers from Kia and Vauxhall. The Kia Niro EV now has an average wait of nine months for delivery, up from 4.5 months in August. Both the Vauxhall Corsa-e and Mokka-e waiting times have risen dramatically too, from an average of 3.5 months in August to 10 months in October.

At the more luxurious end of the market, consumers could be waiting for up to 18 months for a Porsche Taycan.

Buyers looking to skip the queue can expect to pay for the privilege, with dealers adding substantial premiums to the manufacturer’s list price for cars which are in stock. For example, we found several dealers advertising Kia EV6s with mark ups of £7,000 or more.

However, popular models including the Tesla Model Y and the Renault Zoe are enjoying comparatively low waiting times of four to 12 weeks and one to two months respectively, meaning customers could have their new car in time for Christmas. 

Drivers who baulk at the thought of waiting more than seven months for a BMW i4 might want to consider an iX3 instead, as this model is available with an eight week delivery time.

Nissan’s Leaf seems to have evergreen demand too, with the waiting time extending from five months in August to nine months now. However the company’s new Ariya model has a comparatively reasonable four month wait.

The shortest waiting times are for MG’s new MG4 and MG5 models, with some dealers offering delivery in just four weeks. However, the company’s ZS EV is still facing waiting lists which are longer than a year. Ora said its new Funky Cat is currently in free supply with a quoted delivery time of around 15 days. 

Estimated waiting times for new electric cars, as of 19 th November 2022:

Audi E-Tron: 12 months +

BMW i4: 6 months +

BMW iX: 6 months +

Citroen e-C4: 9-12 months

Cupra Born: 3-6 months

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense: 3-6 months

Fiat 500e: 4-6 months

Ford Mustang Mach-E: 12-18 months +

Hyundai IONIQ: 6 months

Hyundai IONIQ 5: 9-12 months

Jaguar iPace: 6-9 months

Kia Niro EV: 3-6 months

Kia EV6: 6-9 months

Kia Soul: 3-6 months

Lexus UX300e: 15 months +

Mazda MX-30: 3 months

MG4: 1 month

MG5: 1 month

MG ZS EV: 14 months

MINI Electric: 6 months +

​Nissan Leaf: 6 Months+

Ora Funky Cat: 15 days

Peugeot e208: 3-6 months

Polestar 2: 5-6 months

Porsche Taycan: 12 months +

Renault Zoe: 5 months

Skoda Enyaq iV: Coupe 9-12 months, SUV 12-15 months

Tesla Model S: 18-24 months

Tesla Model X: 18-24 months

Tesla Model 3: 6-12 months

Vauxhall Corsa-e: 6-8 months

Vauxhall Mokka-e: 6-8 months

Volkswagen ID.3: 12 months +

Volkswagen ID.4: 12 months +

Latest Leasing Deals
The wait for a Volkswagen ID.3 is as long as 12 months

Our top tips on how to jump the queues

Be willing to compromise on trim: 

Perhaps the most significant timesaver would be not being picky on trim and specification options, since ordering a car for a factory build will slow the process up considerably. This could extend the waiting time for a vehicle from three months to a year very easily.

A prime example of this would be the Tesla Model 3. A simple play on the configurator can yield varying results. We found that a standard white Model 3 with a black interior and 18-inch Aero alloy wheels would be delivered between April 2023 and June 2023. If the colour was changed to either red, blue, black or grey, the delivery time shortened to between January 2023 and March 2023.

Be flexible with your tech options: 

Adding new tech which requires a lot of those precious chips will slow down your order and bump you out of the queue. Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability makes no difference to waiting times when the Tesla Model 3 is concerned, but such features can extend waiting times with other manufacturers. Ordering a Jaguar iPace, for instance, with a head-up display and 360 surround cameras included, increases the delivery time from six to nine months.

Be prepared to hit the phones to enquire about stock availability:

You could walk in to a dealership and walk out with the car you want if you’re willing to accept a cancelled order or ‘stock’ model.  A common reason for cancellation is, ironically, that some customers refuse to wait longer than the delivery time they were originally quoted.

We were told there is a six month wait for a Porsche Taycan Turbo, but the 4S and Turbo S models are unavailable until the second-half of next year at the very minimum. However, showrooms do have customer cancellation Taycans available now. So, being willing to compromise in the details is the key to getting you your vehicle at a significantly sooner date than expected.

Check the net:

Many manufacturers will now offer to sell you a car directly via their website, often at a slightly lower cost or with better deals than going through the dealer network. The car maker will make more money on these as they don’t have to pay a handling fee, which means they are keen to keep this channel open. As a result they will often ‘ring fence’ stock and production which means you’ll be able to get a car faster.

Certain large dealer groups are also owned or run by the manufacturers themselves, and will rarely be ‘starved’ of stock. These sources should be your first port of call if you want your car faster. 

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