Electric vehicles become second most popular powertrain in 2022

Battery electric vehicles became Britain’s second most popular powertrain for the year in 2022, according to figures from the SMMT.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that the UK new car market recorded its fifth consecutive month of growth in December, with an 18.3% increase to reach 128,462 new registrations.

This second half year performance was not enough, however, to offset the declines recorded during the first half of 2022. Despite underlying demand, pandemic-related global parts shortages saw overall registrations for the year fall -2.0% to 1.61 million, around 700,000 units below pre-Covid levels.

Constrained supply saw many manufacturers prioritise deliveries of the latest zero emission-capable models. December saw battery electric vehicles (BEVs) claim their largest ever monthly market share, of 32.9%, while for 2022 as a whole they comprised 16.6% of registrations, surpassing diesel for the first time to become the second most popular powertrain after petrol.

Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) saw their annual share decline to 6.3%, meaning that combined, all plug-in vehicles accounted for 22.9% of new registrations in 2022 – a record high, although a smaller increase in overall market share than recorded in previous years.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) also enjoyed growth, rising to an 11.6% market share for the year. As a result, average new car CO2 fell -6.9% to 111.4g/km, yet again the lowest in history.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “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.”

Melanie Shufflebotham, COO and co-founder of Zap-Map said: “2022 was a record year for both EV sales and public charging rollout. With more than 8,700 net new chargers installed, a 30% increase, the UK’s network is keeping good pace with the take-up of cleaner, greener cars and reactor slot.

“There are areas we need to see improvements — there’s still a London and South-East bias, especially for slow on-street charging, and reliability remains the top concern for EV drivers. The rollout of rapid and ultra-rapid chargers has been moving at pace and this needs to continue through 2023, they are crucial for topping up en-route.

“Despite the challenges of rising energy prices and supply chain shortages, it’s been another big year for electrifying transport. Hopefully 2023 will beat the records again.”

Want the latest Electric vehicle news in your inbox? Sign up to the free EV Powered email newsletter...