EVs help UK new car market record tenth month of growth

Drivers continue switch to electric vehicles as the UK’s new car market recorded its tenth month of growth, according to the SMMT.

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that the UK has posted its longest uninterrupted period of expansion for eight years, as registrations grew 16.7% in May to reach 145,204.

The performance marks ten consecutive months of growth, although registrations remain -21.0% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Petrol-powered cars remain Britain’s best sellers, accounting for 57.1% of all registrations. Alternatively powered vehicles, however, continue to make up an ever-larger share of the market, with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rising 23.0% to reach a 6.2% market share and hybrids (HEVs) growing 22.2% to comprise 12.3% of all registrations.

May saw battery electric vehicles consolidate their position as the UK’s second most popular power train. A further 24,513 joined the road during the month, up 58.7% on May last year to secure a 16.9% market share.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “After the difficult, Covid-constrained supply issues of the last few years, it’s good to see the new car market maintain its upward trend and the fact that growth is, increasingly, green growth is hugely encouraging. Transforming the market nationwide, however, and at an even greater pace means we must increase demand and help any reticent driver overcome any concerns about electric vehicles. This will require every stakeholder – industry, government, chargepoint operators and energy companies – to play their part, accelerating investment to drive decarbonisation.”

Jon Lawes, Managing Director, Novuna Vehicle Solutions, added: “Today’s electric vehicle (EV) figures should be the catalyst for the Government to address the blockages that could jeopardise the future of the UK’s zero emission transition.  Despite recent funding, we’re still lacking a clear strategy to achieve the level of increase in charging points necessary to transform the UK’s sluggish EV infrastructure. This is particularly prevalent when analysing the more rural areas of the UK.

“Alongside this, we need to prioritise the development of domestic EV battery manufacturing capacity in order to retain carmakers and avoid the risk of tariffs on British cars under post- Brexit regulations starting next year. It’s essential to address these challenges for the long-term success of the UK’s EV sector.”

In response to the publication by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) of car registration statistics for May 2023, Graeme Thompson, Chief Financial Officer at Belfast-based electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure company Weev said:

“The latest data from SMMT provides welcome reading for the EV industry with sales of electric vehicles continuing to accelerate at speed.

“The 24,513 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registered across the UK in May represented an incredible 58.7 per cent rise on the figure for the same month last year.

“Across all vehicle types, large fleets made up more than half of new vehicle registrations. This reflects what we are seeing in the local marketplace as businesses seek to switch their fleets to EVs to unlock both financial and carbon savings.

“It is clear that the drive towards electrification is now gaining further significant momentum, making it more important than ever that adequate charging infrastructure is in place to service the market.

“That is exactly what we have been set up to address with plans to install thousands of charging points over the coming years.”

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