The UK’s new car market surged this summer with an electric car being registered every 60 seconds as deliveries ramped up by nearly 90 per cent.
This marks a turnaround from earlier this year, when the growth in demand for electric vehicles (EVs) fell due to high energy costs and concerns over insufficient charging infrastructure.
According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the new car market grew 28.3 per cent in July, with 143,921 new vehicles registered.
Despite challenging economic conditions, the market has enjoyed non-stop growth for a full year as supply chain challenges have eased, production has increased and deliveries have been fulfilled.
In 2021, the sector saw its worst July output since 1956 as it struggled with ongoing staff shortages associated with the ‘pingdemic’, on top of strained semiconductor supplies. A year later, though, the chip shortage began to ease, leading to an uptick in production from UK car manufacturers.
The SMMT said that the latest growth was driven by company registrations, with uptake by large fleets increasing 61.9 per cent to 80,961 units and business registrations rising 28.7 per cent to 2,915 new vehicles.
EVs accounted for more than a third of the growth (35.4 per cent of the market). Hybrid volumes also grew, although their overall market share fell to 11.3 per cent. Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations saw a significant uplift for the second month in a row as uptake rose 79 per cent, now accounting for 8 per cent of the market.
The biggest increase, however, was for EVs, which recorded a nearly 88 per cent increase to account for 16.0 per cent of all new July registrations – a market share broadly consistent with that seen so far this year.
“While the growth in electric vehicles hitting UK roads is significant, it must move even faster if it is to outpace the rest of the market and enable the UK to meet ambitious but necessary environmental targets,” the SMMT said.
To get more consumers to make the switch, it advocates providing fiscal incentives and boosting the UK’s charging infrastructure.
In May, the RAC said the government was “unlikely” to meet its target of having six or more rapid or ultra-rapid EV chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Choice and innovation in the market are growing, so it’s encouraging to see more people switching onto the benefits of driving electric. With inflation, rising costs of living and a zero-emission vehicle mandate that will dictate the market coming next year, however, consumers must be given every possible incentive to buy. Government must pull every lever, therefore, to make buying, running and, especially, charging an EV affordable and practical for every driver in every part of the country.”
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