Increase in EV demand in August but supply chain issues remain

Electric vehicle demand saw an increase in August but the market is still undermined by supply chain issues, according to the SMMT.

Demand for the latest battery electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles saw a surge in demand last month, contrast to all other new car registrations which fell by 22%, the weakest since August 2013. Registrations were down 7% against the average recorded over the last decade, due in part to constrained supply as the global shortage of semiconductors, an issue born of the pandemic, continues to undermine production volumes.

However, battery electric vehicles grew by 32.2%, with hybrid and plug-in hybrids also increasing by 45.7% and 72.1% respectively.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), demand for PHEVs has outpaced BEVs in five of the last six months since changes to the Plug-in Car Grant, affecting BEVs, were introduced in March. There are now some 130 plug-in models on the market, with the range ever-increasing.

So far this year, UK new car registrations remain up 20.3%, to 1,101,302 registrations, an increase of 185,687 units with BEVs and PHEVs at 8.4% and 6.6% market share respectively. However, this performance is measured against the Covid-hit 2020 market, when showrooms were closed for much of the year. Total registrations in 2021 are -25.3% below the ten year average for the period January – August, illustrating the ongoing and wide ranging impact of the pandemic on automotive retail.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While August is normally one of the quietest months for UK new car registrations these figures are still disappointing, albeit not wholly surprising. The global shortage of semiconductors has affected UK, and indeed global, car production volumes so new car registrations will inevitably be undermined. Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures in place currently, especially the furlough scheme which has proven invaluable to so many businesses.

“As we enter the important September plate-change month with an ever-increasing range of electrified models and attractive deals, buyers in the market for the new 71 plate can be reassured manufacturers are doing all they can to ensure prompt deliveries.”

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