UK posts rise in car production with electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in vehicles accounting for 39.3% of output 

According to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car production rose 13.1% in February, up to 69,707 units. Electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-ins made a big contribution to this showing the transition to cleaner motoring is continuing to gather pace. 

Factories made an additional 8,050 cars, with volumes buoyed by an easing of supply chain shortages – notably of semiconductors – which have bedevilled the global industry since the early months of 2021.

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Production for both home and overseas markets rose by double digits, up 20.3% and 11.5% respectively, with exports driving the overall uplift. 56,634 cars were produced to fulfil global orders, up from 50,786 a year before and accounting for 81.2% of output, with the majority of these exports (59.6%) heading into the UK’s largest trading partner, the EU.

The UK’s automotive industrial transition to hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continued, with combined volumes surging 72.2% from 15,905 to a total of 27,392 units and accounting for two in five (39.3%) cars produced in the month. 

Ramping up the output of these vehicles still further is crucial. A new SMMT member survey reveals that nine in 10 firms want measures to deliver low carbon and cost-effective energy supply, to help support the transition to zero emission technologies.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “February’s growth in UK car production signposts an industry on the road to recovery.

“The fundamentals of the sector are strong; a highly skilled workforce, engineering excellence, a sector that is embracing new electrified vehicle manufacturing and wide-ranging capabilities in the EV supply chain. 

“To take advantage of global opportunities, however, we must scale up at pace and make the UK the most attractive destination for automotive investment by addressing trading and fiscal costs and delivering low carbon, affordable energy.”

The news follows SMMT’s March publication of Race to Zero: Powering Up Britain’s EV Supply Chain, a blueprint for how the UK can boost its electric vehicle manufacturing in the face of fierce global competition. It includes a new UK EV Supply Chain Directorywhich illustrates how, from batteries, powertrains, fuel cells and power electronics to anodes, rare earth magnets, graphene and silicon carbide wafers, the UK already produces almost every component needed to make electric vehicles. 

The challenge now is to scale up this capability, harness the UK’s strengths in advanced automotive manufacturing, low carbon energy and R&D and deliver growth for the sector. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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