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More than a quarter of new cars in UK now plug in

Professional Engineering

In total, 39,558 new plug-in cars were registered in November (Credit: Shutterstock)
In total, 39,558 new plug-in cars were registered in November (Credit: Shutterstock)

More than a quarter of all new cars joining UK roads are either battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), new figures have shown.

In November, sale of BEVs was up 34.2% on the same month last year, according to statistics released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today (5 December). They now account for more than one-in-five new cars (20.5%), while PHEVs account for 7.1% of the market. In total, 39,558 new plug-ins were registered. 

Sale of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) also rose by 66.9% to 11.3% of the market, driven particularly by fleet operators looking for flexibility and emissions reductions.

Overall, the new car market grew 23.5% in November to 142,889 units, the fourth consecutive month of year-on-year growth. The growth delivered the best total for November since 2019, with manufacturers continuing efforts to fulfil orders amid what the SMMT described as “erratic” global components supply.

Registrations were still 8.8% below 2019 levels, however. While further recovery is anticipated in 2023, global and domestic economic challenges mean that the market will likely remain below pre-pandemic levels.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Recovery for Britain’s new car market is back within our grasp, energised by electrified vehicles and the sector’s resilience in the face of supply and economic challenges.

“As the sector looks to ensure that growth is sustainable for the long term, urgent measures are required – not least a fair approach to driving EV adoption that recognises these vehicles remain more expensive, and measures to compel investment in a charging network that is built ahead of need. By doing so we can encourage consumer appetite across the country and accelerate the UK’s journey to net zero.”


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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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