Sales of used electric cars reach record high in first quarter of the year

It has been a record start to 2022 for the UK’s used electric car market as sales more than doubled in the first quarter of the year.

The figures, published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), revealed a rise from 6,625 to 14,586 in used BEV transactions in the first three months of the year, an increase of 120.2%. Plug in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) also changed hands in greater numbers than the year before rising by 35.3% to 14,433, and 28.8% to 35,007 units respectively.

The market follows a similar pattern to new car registrations, with electrified vehicles accounting for more than a quarter of all sales in April whilst new car registrations fell by 15.8%.

Overall, the UK’s used car market increased 5.1% in the first quarter of the year, with 1,774,351 transactions taking place and with 86,596 additional cars changing hands compared with the same period in 2021.

Despite the growth of the used electric market, petrol and diesel powertrains saw 96.2% of used sales, or some 1,707,135 units. Plug-in vehicles comprised 3.6% of the total market share – up from 1.6% in Q1 2021.

Mini, dual purpose and supermini segments saw the largest growth, up 13.5%, 12.3% and 9.1% respectively. MPV transactions, meanwhile, declined by -7.5%, followed by luxury saloons (-3.4%) and upper mediums (-3.0%). Superminis (32.6%) remained the most popular used buy, followed by lower medium (26.6%) and dual purpose (14.0%), with these three segments accounting for more than seven in 10 (73.2%) of all cars finding new owners.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “With the new car market hampered by ongoing global supply shortages, growth in the used car market is welcome, if unsurprising especially given we were in lockdown last year. Electric car sales are energising the market, with zero emission vehicles starting to filter through in larger numbers to consumers looking forward to driving the latest and greenest vehicles. Although there is some way to go before we see the recent growth in new EVs replicated in the used market, a buoyant new car market will be vital to help drive fleet renewal which is essential to the delivery of carbon savings.”