Drivers continue to switch to electric vehicles – SMMT report

May was the tenth consecutive month in which the number of new car registrations increased, the longest run of sustained growth since 2015 according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders. The total of 145,204 registrations remains however 21% down on 2019’s figure.

2022 was badly affected by post-Covid supply issues and the fact that these have been largely resolved is reflected in the continued growth of the fleet sector. While private registration fell very slightly, fleet registration leapt by nearly 37%.

The market share of petrol engined vehicles fell from 45.6% last May to 41.2% this year and the combined registration of petrol and diesel engined cars is now below 50%, with the latter having just a 4% market share.

Battery Electric Vehicles was the most improved sector, with a leap of 58.7% from last May’s 15,448 to 24,513 this year.

The report observes that there are now more than 80 models of EVs on the market – around a quarter of all new car models available. It also notes that these new BEVs have an average battery range of 236 miles, well in excess of UK drivers’ average weekly mileage of around 100 miles.

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.’

Ben Nelmes, Chief Executive of New AutoMotive, the independent green motoring consultancy said: ‘It’s great to see sales of electric cars jumping by 50% in May compared with last year. This is yet more evidence that consumers are ready to ditch their polluting cars in favour of cleaner and cheaper transport.’



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