EV sales drop 33.7 per cent year-on-year

By Tristan Shale-Hester

Electric vehicle (EV) sales in the UK fell by 33.7 per cent in January and February 2018, compared with the same two months last year, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In January 2018, a mere 635 new EVs were registered in the UK – 37.1 per cent less than the 1,010 that rolled off dealer forecourts in January 2017.

As for February 2018, 355 new EVs were sold across the country, representing a 26.5 per cent decrease from February 2017’s figure of 483 registrations.

The 33.7 per cent overall decrease in the number of EVs registered has been attributed to a number of possible factors, including the high pricing, limits on range, the availability of charging points and the uncertainty of residual values.

In addition, sales may drop further next month when the government grant for EVs, which offers £4,500 off fully electric vehicles and £2,500 off some hybrids, comes to an end.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, commented: “Even though some car buyers will have been waiting for the new March number plate, the fall-off in sales of pure electric vehicles year-on-year is much sharper than the decline in the total for new car registrations.


“These figures suggest that consumers are still worried about the four Rs that we see holding back the pure-electric market – retail price, range limitation, recharging availability and uncertain residual value.

“Until more affordable models come to market with a longer range and more is done to make recharging less of a headache, it is hard to see how the picture is really going to change.”


Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, commented: “Thanks to significant investment by industry there is an ever increasing range of pure electric and plug-in vehicles on the market, with more than 40 models now on sale and most major manufacturers having electrification plans in place.

“However, pure electric vehicle demand remains low, taking 0.5 per cent market share last year, amid consumer concerns around charging infrastructure availability and affordability.”

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