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SMMT Car regs summary graphic May 23 01

EVs now account for a quarter of all new models available

THERE are now zero emission options available in every single segment of the market, with more than 80 models – around a quarter of all new car models available – from which to choose.

Furthermore, these new BEVs have an average battery range of 236 miles, well in excess of UK drivers’ average weekly mileage of around 100 miles.

While billions of industry investment is delivering choice and growth, however, the speed of the shift needs to accelerate. From January the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate comes into force, which will set a minimum quota for new battery electric vehicle registrations for every brand. While the models and volumes will be available, ensuring the market demand is there will require action from every stakeholder.

A supportive fiscal framework, simplified planning processes, faster grid connections and the provision of a nationwide network of reliable, affordable and sustainable charge points will give drivers considering the switch the confidence to purchase. Investments are coming but regulated public charger targets commensurate with those for new vehicle registrations would give drivers greater confidence and help accelerate the UK’s zero emission transition.

The UK new car market posted its longest uninterrupted period of expansion for eight years, as registrations grew 16.7% in May to reach 145,204 units according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Despite 10 consecutive months of growth, registrations remain 21.0% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

John Wilmot, CEO, car leasing comparison website Leaseloco, added: “Although a 10th consecutive month of growth in new car registrations is encouraging, we shouldn’t forget that new car sales slumped in 2022, so we are comparing 2023 registrations with very low sales levels.

“Also, EV registrations are not spectacular and are struggling to increase market share – 16.9% seems reasonable on the surface, but in December market share was just under 33%.

“Less than a fifth of all registrations are BEVs for the fourth consecutive month, which is simply not high enough when you consider that the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK is less than seven years away. The Government should be concerned that more people aren’t switching to electric, but there doesn’t appear to be a clear plan and consumers have few incentives to buy EVs.

“Many EVs are still too expensive, despite manufacturers cutting prices. Higher energy costs and substantially lower petrol and diesel prices since last summer means people aren’t as motivated to switch to reduce their running costs.

“And there are frequent stories of people having to queue for hours to charge their cars. Anxiety over charging is not the kind of publicity that is going to convince car owners, who are perhaps sitting on the fence right now, to make the switch.

“It’s not quite time to press the panic button just yet, but we’re getting closer to that point.”

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