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SMMT Car regs summary graphic Feb 23 01

BEV sales hit record monthly high

BATTERY electric vehicle (BEV) deliveries reached a record monthly high of 46,626 in March, representing growth of 18.6%, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Overall, the BEV market share remained almost the same as last year at 16.2% and, with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations growing by 11.8%, plug-in registrations comprised 22.4% of the market – a slight decline on 2022. The biggest growth, however, was in hybrids (HEVs), with a 34.3% surge helping electrified vehicles account for more than one in three registrations for the month.

With the publication last week of the consultation on a Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate – due to come into force in less than nine months – the market will have to move more rapidly to battery electric and other zero tailpipe emission cars and vans.

Models are coming to market in greater numbers, but consumers will only make the switch if they have the confidence they can charge whenever and wherever they need. Success of the mandate, therefore, will be dependent not just on product availability but on infrastructure providers investing in the public charging network across the UK.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The best month ever for zero emission vehicles is reflective of increased consumer choice and improved availability but if EV market ambitions – and regulation – are to be met, infrastructure investment must catch up.”

Overall UK new car registrations in March bounced back by 18.2% to deliver the best ‘new plate month’ performance since before the pandemic.

The increase saw 287,825 units delivered, the eighth consecutive month of growth for the new car market, as supply chain challenges slowly continue to ease. As a result, the first quarter of 2023 is the strongest since 2019, with just under half a million new cars joining the road.

This represents an additional £2.7 billion of deliveries, underlining the contribution the sector can make to UK economic growth, despite the market still being significantly below pre-pandemic levels, down 29.5% on Q1 2019.

Lex Autolease Managing Director Nick Williams, said: “Last week saw the government reaffirm its commitment to the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and launch a consultation on the Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate. While it’s yet to be seen if the finalised legislation will fully deliver on aims to boost the supply of electric vehicles in the country and drive investment in the sector, this latest announcement is a bold step forward on the journey to net zero.

“Drivers and businesses alike also welcomed the government’s additional investment of over £380m to develop the UK’s charging infrastructure, which will help drive the much-needed expansion of the network to cater for the growing number of electric vehicles on our roads.”





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