EV sales second only to petrol in 2022

Published:  05 January, 2023

1,614,063 new cars were sold in the UK in 2022, down 2.0% on 2021, with supply chain issues, according to the latest figures from the SMMT. At those close of the year, EV sales were second only to petrol.

In December alone, 128,462 new cars were registered, up 18.3% from the same month in 2021. Looking at the full year, Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) took 16.6% of market share for the year, exceeding diesel vehicle sales for the first time. Conversely, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales fell, making up 6.3% of the total. When added together, all plug-in vehicles represented for 22.9% of new car sales during the year. At the same time, hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) sales went up, with the segment making up 11.6% of all vehicles registered during the year.

To maintain market momentum, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes says that more EV infrastructure is absolutely crucial: “The automotive market remains adrift of its pre-pandemic performance but could well buck wider economic trends by delivering significant growth in 2023. To secure that growth – which is increasingly zero emission growth – government must help all drivers go electric and compel others to invest more rapidly in nationwide charging infrastructure. Manufacturers’ innovation and commitment have helped EVs become the second most popular car type. However, for a nation aiming for electric mobility leadership, that must be matched with policies and investment that remove consumer uncertainty over switching, not least over where drivers can charge their vehicles.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson observed: “2022 was an irregular year for new car registrations with the market impacted by wide ranging factors from supply constraints, driven by continued lockdowns and the war in Ukraine, to the cost-of-living crisis impacting demand in the UK. Looking ahead, NFDA and its members remain cautiously optimistic. Franchised dealers are well placed to enable the UK’s transition to electric vehicles through schemes such as Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA), which are in place to ensure consumers receive the correct support in their switch to electric.

John Wilmot, CEO at car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, observed: “While EVs grabbing second spot in market share makes good headlines, the reality is that growth in electric vehicle ownership in the UK is actually falling according to the latest Department of Transport electric vehicle registrations data. Between Q2 2022 and Q3 2022, battery electric vehicle registrations increased just 9.8%, compared to 11.6% between Q1 2022 and Q2 2022, and 15.5% between Q4 2021 and Q1 2022.With the government's focus likely to be elsewhere in the coming months, as the country grapples with high inflation and the cost of living crisis, it's hard to believe that EV charger provision is going to be at the top of MPs' intrays."

AA Cars Director Mark Oakley added: “New car sales ended the year on a high despite the current gloomy economic picture, finishing up with five straight months of rising vehicle registrations. Electric vehicles remain a bright spot with sales up 40% over the year, and this trend is likely to only grow further in the coming months. Further good news is that UK car production grew a further 5.7% in November, with a 18.3% rise in EV output. Despite this though, the new car industry still faces uncertain times in the new year. Double-digit inflation continues to squeeze people’s ability - and willingness - to invest in big-ticket items like a brand new car. We expect to see more drivers turn to alternative ways of accessing a car this year, with leasing becoming increasingly popular as its fixed monthly payments offer drivers financial certainty.”

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