For the first time since the pandemic, EV sales underperformed the overall new car market in October 2022, according to the latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data.
Zero emission capable car deliveries continued to grow in volume, with EV registrations increasing by 23.4% to 19,933 and plug-in hybrids by 6.2% to 8,899, the SMMT said. However, the overall new car market grew by 26.4%. This means October is the first month to see EV market share fall year on year since May 2021, primarily due to supply challenges, it said.
Overall, the UK new car market recorded a third month of growth in October, with registrations rising by more than a quarter to 134,344 units, with hybrids and EVs driving the uplift. Fulfilment of strong order books helped deliver the bounce-back, although the increase follows a particularly disappointing October 2021 when deliveries fell by 24.6%, the SMMT said.
The market is down 5.6% year to date, compared to the same period in 2021, but still a third below pre-Covid levels, according to the SMMT.
Growth in October was driven primarily by large fleet registrations, which grew 47.4% to 67,911 units, while those by private buyers rose 7.4% to 62,714. Smaller businesses recorded a 108.6% increase although, at 3,719 units, this is a small segment of the market.
Deliveries of hybrids, meanwhile, rocketed 81.7% to account for more than one in 10 new cars, as supply was prioritised for a raft of popular new models. Overall, electrified vehicles accounted for one in three registrations. Plug-ins account for 21.5% of new registrations but infrastructure rollout risks are hampering the Government’s zero emission ambition, the SMMT said.
Ongoing supply chain shortages, surging inflation and a growing cost of living crisis have led to a 2.2% downward revision of the market outlook for the year, with 1.566 million registrations now anticipated, the SMMT said. This puts 2022 on course to be the market’s toughest year since 1982.
More positively, demand for EVs is anticipated to result in a plug-in market share of 21.9%. Overall market recovery is anticipated to continue through 2023, with an outlook of 1.808 million units and plug-ins accounting for 26.7% of registrations next year, the SMMT said.
“Next year’s outlook shows recovery is possible and EV growth looks set to continue but, to achieve our shared net zero goals, that growth must accelerate, and consumers given every reason to invest,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.
The SMMT chief further said the Government has to ensure economic stability and give consumers the confidence to make the switch. “The models are there, with more still to come; so must the public chargepoints,” he said.
At the start of October 2022 the UK had 34,637 public standard, rapid and ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging devices, with 1,239 new rapid chargers and 5,023 new standard chargers installed during the first nine months of the year. With 249,575 new plug-in registrations during the same period, just one new standard public charger has been installed for every 50 new plug-in EV registrations. At this rate, it is unlikely that the Government’s ambition for 300,000 public chargers by 2030 will be met, the SMMT said.