APRIL was another stellar month for electric vehicle uptake, with 20,500 new vehicles joining the UK roads and there have already been more EVs registered so far this year than in the same period last year.
Commenting on the latest new car sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Nick Williams, Transport Managing Director, Lloyds Banking Group said: “All eyes will be on Government at the end of this month when the consultation on the Zero Emissions Vehicles mandate closes. We hope to see robust legislation finalised which will ensure a steady supply of electric models in the UK, to meet the growing demand from drivers looking to make the switch.
“It’s only through continued commitment to an electric future, driven by world-leading legislation, as well as investment in the charging infrastructure, that the transport sector will remain on track to achieve its net zero targets.”
Jon Lawes, Managing Director for Novuna Vehicle Solutions, added: “Despite the positive steps towards the road to net-zero in recent months, with the zero-emission vehicle mandate and the Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) funding announcement, the 2030 target is looking increasingly out of reach.
“Swift action and sustained investment are urgently required to deliver adequate public charging which remains insufficient and threatens to undermine momentum towards wider EV uptake in the months ahead.
“Our EVE report revealed that 30,000 new charging points would need to be built every single year for the next seven years, a tenfold increase in the number put in the ground over the past decade.”
The UK new car market recorded its ninth successive month of growth in April, with an 11.6% increase to reach 132,990 registrations, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The performance marks the best April since 2021’s 141,583 units but remains 17.4% down on 2019 volumes.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) remained the second most popular fuel type, with deliveries up by more than half to 20,522 and 15.4% of the market. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) also posted strong growth, up 33.3% with 8,595 registered in the month, while hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) recorded a 7.7% increase to 15,026 units. As a result, electrified vehicles accounted for more than one in three registrations in April. Petrol-powered cars retained their best-selling status, comprising 58.1% of all registrations.
As supply chain pressures have begun to ease, the overall market is now up 16.9% in the first four months – the best start to a year since the pandemic, with growth worth £3.2 billion. This has led to an upward revision of the quarterly market outlook, the first positive revision since 2021, with 1.83 million new car registrations expected in 2023, up from 1.79 million anticipated in January. That puts expected market growth this year at 13.5%, which would be the best percentage gain since 1983.
The sector is, however, less optimistic about growth in demand for BEVs, downgrading their expected 2023 market share from 19.7% to 18.4%, with high energy costs and insufficient charging infrastructure anticipated to soften demand. The latest outlook for 2024, meanwhile, suggests that 22.6% of new car registrations will be BEVs, a downward revision from the 23.3% forecast in January.
With a zero emission vehicle mandate due to come into effect next year, greater and faster investment in infrastructure, and more incentives to encourage purchase are essential to drive consumer confidence and accelerate uptake.