Battery electric vehicle registrations up in July despite overall decline

Battery electric vehicle registrations continued to grow in July, offsetting a fall of 9% for new car registrations in the UK.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK new car registrations fell by -9.0% to reach 112,162 units in July, marking the fifth month of consecutive decline, although the fall is the smallest recorded this year.

Battery electric vehicle registrations, however, grew 9.9% to 12,243 units to achieve a 10.9% market share for the month. Although this is the weakest monthly uplift recorded by BEVs since the pandemic, overall growth in the year has reached 49.9% to deliver a 13.9% market share.

July was a weaker month for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uptake, with registrations falling -6.7% to take 12.2% of the market. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) fell -34.0% which cut their market share to 5.8%.

Ongoing global supply chain issues, predominantly the lack of semiconductors, were cited as the main drivers for the overall decline in registrations.

The outlook for the full year has been revised downwards to 1.6 million new car registrations – a -2.8% fall on 2021, with the industry facing its most challenging year for three decades. Around two million registrations have been lost since Covid, effectively representing a loss of a year’s registrations. Plug-in market share will continue to grow, however, to reach 22.6% as manufacturers prioritise investment in zero emission vehicle production.

Likewise, although the 2023 outlook has also been revised downwards since the April estimate, it is likely to be an improvement on 2022, with overall registrations anticipated to reach to 1.89 million (rather than 2.02mn), with plug-ins comprising 27.8% of the market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The automotive sector has had another tough month and is drawing on its fundamental resilience during a third consecutive challenging year as the squeeze on supply bedevils deliveries. While order books are strong, we need a healthy market to ensure the sector delivers the carbon savings government ambitions demand. The next Prime Minister must create the conditions for economic growth, restore consumer confidence and support the transition to zero emission mobility.”