Electric vehicle output grows as UK car production bounces back

Battery electric car production more than doubled last month as UK car production saw its first rise in 11 months.

According to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), output of battery electric vehicles increased by 108.3% in June with 4,525 built, while more than one-in-five (22.6%) of all cars built last month was alternatively fuelled, up from 19.3% last year.

Overall, UK car production grew for the first time since June 2021 in May, up 13.3%, with 62,284 units leaving factory gates. However, output remains -46.3% below the pre-pandemic month in 2019.

Production for both overseas and domestic markets increased in May, by 8.9% and 39.5% respectively. Exports accounted for 82.1% of all new cars built, with almost six-in-ten of these destined for the EU. Shipments to the US decreased by -35.4%, with the closure of a major UK plant in 2021 continuing to affect export levels across the Atlantic.

In the year to date, overall output has decreased by more than a fifth (-23.2%), with supply chain constraints, most notable the shortage of semiconductors, constricting volumes, with just 330,185 units built – a shortfall of some 99,641. This has largely been driven by a -26.9% decline in exports and a further -4.5% fall in production for the domestic market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “May’s return to growth for UK car output is hugely welcome after 10 months of decline, indicating the sector’s fundamental resilience. Any recovery, however, will be gradual as supply chain deliveries remain erratic, business costs volatile and geopolitical instability still very real.

“With the industry racing to decarbonise, we need to safeguard manufacturing competitiveness, drive investment and develop the skill base. Government and industry have a role to play in this transformation and collaboration will be essential if the UK is to remain at the forefront of automotive innovation.”