Electric vehicle sales soar despite chip shortage
Electric vehicle registrations continue to see significant growth, despite overall new car market recovery being hit by the global semiconductor shortage.
The latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show that registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose 122.9% in June to 19,842 units.
While performance was artificially lifted through comparison with June 2020, when the UK began to emerge from the first pandemic lockdown and showrooms re-opened, the data for market share shows BEVs rose to take more than one in 10 (10.7%) registrations last month, compared to 6.1% in June 2020.
Registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rose 145.7% to 12,139 units, giving a 6.5% market share compared to 3.4% in June last year. It was the third month running that PHEV uptake continued to grow faster than BEV uptake, following reductions to the Plug-in Car Grant in March.
Traditional hybrids were up 57.9% to 16,150 units, bringing an 8.7% market share versus 7.0% for the same period last year.
This compares to a 8.1% market share for diesels and 6.1% for mild hybrid diesels last month.
However, petrols continued to account for the lion’s share of registrations, taking a 46.4% share plus a further 13.5% for mild hybrid petrols in June 2021.
Overall new car registrations were up 28.0% year-on-year in June but when compared with the previous 10-year average, monthly registrations were down 16.4%.
The SMMT said that for new car registrations to return to the previous decade average of 2.3 million per annum, and for that total to be electrically-driven, consumers need certainty about the future with long-term government commitments to incentives, and confidence in the rollout of charging infrastructure nationwide.
Chief executive Mike Hawes added: “Rebuilding for the next decade is now well underway with investment in local battery production beginning and a raft of new electrified models in showrooms. With the end of domestic restrictions later this month looking more likely, business and consumer optimism should improve further, fuelling increased spending, especially as the industry looks towards September and advanced orders for the next plate change.”
Lucy Simpson, head of EV Enablement at Centrica Business Solutions, also said further action on EV take-up was needed.
“The next step will be accelerating the rate of EV adoption even further, which is essential if the UK is to meet its net zero targets. Looking ahead, all eyes will now be on the Government’s eagerly-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Plan and how it will incentivise greater EV uptake ahead of the 2030 ban on ICE vehicle sales.
“Our research into business attitudes towards EVs revealed that range anxiety is still the chief concern for a third of UK firms. So, investment in a network of accessible charging infrastructure and guaranteeing the ‘right to plug’ for all those using electric vehicles will be key to promoting the mass adoption of low carbon transport.”
And New AutoMotive, a transport research group supporting the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK, said that it was concerned with the growth of hybrids because they’re not zero-emission cars.
It is calling for California-style legislation that rewards manufacturers for selling fully electric cars rather than hybrids.
Ben Nelmes, head of policy, said: “While petrol remains the most popular fuel type, the growth of registrations of new hybrid vehicles is a concern. Hybrids are not zero emissions cars, and the UK needs to see faster growth in zero emissions, fully electric cars to meet its net zero target. Ministers should consider introducing a California-style scheme that would reward manufacturers for selling fully electric cars instead of hybrids. That would encourage more investment in EV manufacturing and production. This would benefit consumers, create jobs and reduce emissions.”