UK electric vehicle market continues upward trajectory in April

Battery electric vehicles registrations continued to grow last month, with electrified vehicles accounting for more than a quarter of all sales in April.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 12,899 of the latest zero emission cars joining UK roads last month, an increase of 40.9% on the same month last year and taking a 10.8% market share, up from 6.5% last year.

While registrations of hybrids (HEVs) also rose by 18.3%, the number of new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations decreased by a third (-32.8%). As a result, electrified vehicles comprised 27.9% of all new car registrations during April.

Electric vehicle registrations have continued to grow throughout the year, whilst overall new car registrations fell by -15.8% to 119,167 units in April. April’s decline was driven primarily by a -33.3% decrease in large fleet registrations, with manufacturers continuing to prioritise private consumers given robust demand, which helped this market segment see a modest increase of 4.8%. Smaller business registration volumes fared better, growing by 15.4%.

The outlook for plug-in vehicles was downgraded with the forecast for BEV registrations now at 289,000 units, down from 307,000; and PHEVs at 144,000, down from 163,000. HEVs also saw their outlook fall from 198,000 to 193,000. This means that plug-in electric cars are now expected to account for a quarter of all registrations (25.2%) during the year, with BEVs alone comprising around one in six new cars on the road.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “The worldwide semiconductor shortage continues to drag down the market, with global geopolitical issues threatening to undermine both supply and demand in the coming months. Manufacturers are doing everything they can to deliver the latest low and zero emission vehicles, and those considering purchase should look to place their orders now to benefit from incentives, low interest rates and reduced running costs.

“Accelerating the transformation of the new car market and the carbon savings demanded of road transport in such difficult times requires not just the resolution of supply issues, however, but a broader package of measures that encourages customer demand and addresses obstacles, the biggest of which remains charging anxiety.”