UK new car sales 2023: charging network blamed as EV demand slowed in April
A drop in EV market share for April leads to lower industry sales forecasts, with blame placed on the public charge point roll-out
UK electric car sales have hit a bump in the road – or more likely a pothole – according to the latest industry figures.
While the new car market grew overall for the ninth consecutive month in April, the share of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) slipped to 15.4 per cent from 16.2 per cent in March when BEV sales were the highest yet recorded. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says car makers are now less optimistic about the continued growth of demand and as a result, has downgraded market share predictions for new electric car sales.
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The forecast for 2023 has slipped to 18.4 per cent from 19.7 per cent, while the 2024 projection has been lowered from 23.3 per cent to 22.6 per cent.
While the percentage shifts may appear small, any tailing-off of demand for EVs is potentially worrying in the light of the government’s zero emission mandate coming into effect in 2024, which requires car makers to ensure at least 22 per cent of car sales are BEVs – rising incrementally to 80 per cent by 2030.
“The broader economic conditions and chargepoint anxiety are beginning to cast a cloud over the market’s eagerness to adopt zero emission mobility at the scale and pace needed”, said SMMT chief exec Mike Hawes. “To ensure all drivers can benefit from electric vehicles, we need everyone – government, local authorities, energy companies and charging providers – to accelerate their investment in the transition and bolster consumer confidence in making the switch.”
In overall terms though, Hawes describes the new car market as “increasingly bullish”, in part due to the boost in supply of parts and components as post-pandemic supply chain issues ease. 132,990 cars were registered in April, which is an 11.6 per cent increase on last year. However it’s still down by 17.4 per cent compared to the 2019 figure.
Petrol cars, including mild hybrids, accounted for over 61% of the UK car market for April with diesel at 10.6%. Plug-in hybrids were 5.4% of the market and full hybrids made up 11.7%.
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