Incentives needed as less than one in 10 private new car buyers opt for an EV in September

Despite the fact that the government have pushed the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate back from 2030 to align with most other countries at 2035, it is being suggested that the UK might struggle more than most other countries in transitioning to EVs because we lack the incentives to do so.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) new vehicle statistics for September show that the market share of battery electric vehicles has fallen slightly on last year.

The UK new car market grew 21.0% in September – a month traditionally boosted by the new number plate – with 272,610 registrations in the month.

Fleet registrations leapt 40.8% on last year while private registrations rose 5.8%.

EV uptake continued to grow in the month, with plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) both making considerable leaps in sales of  50.9% and 31.8% respectively. As a result, the less impressive growth in sales of Battery Electric Vehicles of 18.9% means the the overall market share of BEVs has fallen slightly -from 16.9% to 16.6% – on last year.

The report reveals that once again the increase in BEV sales were driven entirely by fleet purchases, which rose by 50.6% as buyers were drawn, the SMMT explain, to ‘the advanced technology, outstanding performance, reduced environmental impact and compelling tax incentives.’

On the other hand, private BEV registrations fell by 14.3%, with less than one in 10 private new car buyers opting for electric during the month (of a total 272,610 vehicles sold,  45,323 were batter electric).

Given that the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate insists that in five years 50% of all cars manufactured will be zero emission, the uptake by private motorists needs to accelerate, and the sort of incentives that are already in place in many other countries, need to be put in place here.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘A bumper September means the new car market remains strong despite economic challenges. However, with tougher EV targets for manufacturers coming into force next year, we need to accelerate the transition, encouraging all motorists to make the switch. This means adding carrots to the stick – creating private purchase incentives aligned with business benefits, equalising on-street charging VAT with off-street domestic rates and mandating chargepoint rollout in line with how electric vehicle sales are now to be dictated. The forthcoming Autumn Statement is the perfect opportunity to create the conditions that will deliver the zero emission mobility essential to our shared net zero ambition.’


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