Electric Vehicles Lead UK Car Market Recovery

  • UK car market sees strong recovery with 25.8% growth in registrations in June 2023.
  • EV registrations surge by 39.4%, capturing 17.9% of the market.
  • BEV registrations reach record levels at 152,968 deliveries.

The SMMT’s figures covering the UK car market in June 2023 show EVs are more popular than ever

The UK car market is bouncing back strongly. According to the SMMT’s latest figures covering June 2023, registrations saw an impressive 25.8% growth. That marks the 11th consecutive month of expansion.

While overall market volumes remain below pre-pandemic levels, EVs are stealing the spotlight. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations surged by 39.4% in June alone. Over 31,700 drivers chose zero-emission cars, capturing a remarkable 17.9% of the market.

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This positive trend extends beyond June. In the first half of 2023, nearly a million new cars hit UK roads, an 18.4% increase from last year. BEV registrations reached record levels, with an astounding 152,968 deliveries, 13 times higher than the same period in 2019. The shift towards electric mobility is accelerating.

BEVs hold a market share of 16.1% in 2023, indicating the ongoing electric revolution. The upcoming zero-emission vehicle mandate, requiring a 22% BEV registration per manufacturer, calls for accelerated action to meet ambitious targets. Stakeholders must collaborate to overcome challenges.

To drive more consumer adoption, industry experts urge a reduction in value-added tax (VAT) on public charging. Home charging already offers 60-70% cost savings compared to petrol or diesel refuelling. VAT equity is where all EV owners pay the same 5% VAT rate regardless of their charging location. This would make EV ownership feasible for a wider audience.

As the UK car market recovers, electric vehicles, especially BEVs, lead the way

Their popularity, sustainability focus, and favourable incentives propel us toward a greener and more electrified future.

“The new car market is growing back and growing green, as the attractions of electric cars become apparent to more drivers. But meeting our climate goals means we have to move even faster. Most electric vehicle owners enjoy the convenience and cost saving of charging at home but those that do not have a driveway or designated parking space must pay four times as much in tax for the same amount of energy. This is unfair and risks delaying greater uptake, so cutting VAT on public EV charging will help make owning an EV fairer and attractive to even more people.”

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT

Gill Nowell is the Head of Electric Vehicle Communications at ElectriX. She puts the strong EV sales down to improved emobility technology diminishing drivers’ EV anxieties. Low tax rates and increased public charging infrastructure come together to build a picture of a motoring population that’s becoming accustomed to the idea of emobility.

“Electric cars are now an accepted form of everyday transport and are earning public trust. In a challenging economic climate, the relatively buoyant nature of the electric car market is reflected in the UK’s latest new car registration figures for June, with almost one in five people in the market for a new car choosing to go pure electric.

We’re starting to see the barriers to going electric being swept away, with range anxiety becoming less of an issue thanks to improved battery technology, and a 42% increase in rapid chargers in just one year. Low tax rates are also making EVs affordable to more people through business leasing and salary sacrifice schemes which in turn also help further improve the availability of these cars when they start to trickle down to the second-hand market.”

Gill Nowell, Head of Electric Vehicle Communications, ElectriX

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director for Auto Trader, commented from a first-hand sales perspective. He states that the recent uptake in popularity is a welcome relief from the diminished interest they’ve experienced. Another working theory is that people are generally feeling more financially stable and ready to purchase a brand-new vehicle.

“Our figures show the electric share of the new car market enjoyed a much-needed boost in June – taking 15% of new car advert views up from 11% in March – due to advertising by brands promoting electric models. After several months of low EV interest, this is welcome news and shows that the increasing array of deals from the likes of Tesla that have hit the market in recent weeks are already stimulating demand.

The strong overall new car sales performance is supported by recent findings that 85% of would-be car buyers are at least as confident in being able to afford their next car as they were last year, whilst over three in four (77%) visitors to Auto Trader are looking to purchase a car in the next six months.”

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