Record EV Sales In The UK
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – SMMT – has released its latest report on the overall car sales in the UK in 2022. Although the report paints a grim picture, it’s quite clear from the data that electric vehicles are emerging as the favourites.
One-third of all new cars sold in the UK in December were electric vehicles. In the same month, the sale of electric vehicles touched the largest ever market share. It seems that diesel cars are slowly falling out of favour, and electric vehicles are filling that void. This is in line with the SMMT data revealing that the sale of EVs accounted for 17% of the entire car sales in 2022.
A 2% Fall In Overall Car Sales
According to the SMMT data, a total of 1.61M cars were sold in the UK last year, which is 2% lower than the figure for the year before that. In fact, 2022 was the year when the sale of new cars nose-dived to the lowest figure in 30 years.
Disruption in the supply chain has been the major reason behind the decline in car sales in the UK and across the world. The disruption in the availability of auto parts – especially semiconductors started two years back when the pandemic started. The situation got complicated further with the rise of geopolitical issues arising from the Russia-Ukraine war.
It is the sale of electric vehicles that is encouraging SMMT to look forward to 2023 with cautious optimism. The UK economy is in a precarious position. It is not the correct time to celebrate the rise in sales of EVs. There is the challenge of building an ecosystem of charging stations, battery plants and overall infrastructure. But first, Britain has to come out of the economic crisis and manage inflation.
However, the sales data for the month of December seems to be a ray of hope. There was an 18% increase in car sales in the UK in the last month of 2022. However, the reduction in the sales of new cars seen in the first six months of 2022 was too significant and hence the increase in sales in December did not have any significant effect on the overall performance in 2022.
Reading Between The Lines: Individuals Aren’t Buying EVs In Great Numbers Yet
Although the report published by SMMT shows a greater adoption of Electric Vehicles in the UK, a detailed examination of it shows that it is the businesses and fleet owners that are leading the adoption of EVs in the UK. Businesses and fleets accounted for two-thirds (66%) of all electric vehicle registrations in 2022 in the UK. While it is certainly heartening to see businesses adopting EVs at a greater pace, it is also concerning to see individuals still preferring traditional vehicles. This is partly because EVs aren’t that affordable yet.
According to Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT says that one of the reasons individual buyers are thinking twice before making the switch is the ‘charging-anxiety’. There are concerns regarding the availability of charging points. These concerns are not that unfounded because Britain needs around 300,000 public charging points by 2030 (as per the report by the previous government led by Boris Johnson). The current number of charging points is a dismal 37,000. This means that the country needs to install 100 EV chargers per day. But the current rate stands at 23 EV charger-installation a day.