25 Feb 2024

Millionth UK BEV sold in January as overall new car sales rise

New car sales were up 8.2% in January, according to figures from the SMMT released today (Monday 5 February 2024), just in time for the millionth battery electric vehicle to be sold during the month.

In total, 142, 876 new cars were sold during the first month of 2024, up 10,882 on the previous year, representing the 18th month of continuous growth. It was also the best January since 2020. The growth was entirely the result of a 29.9% rise in fleet buying however, with private buyer sales actually down 15.8%. Fleet registrations made up 63.2% of the total, up from 52.7%a year ago.

Diesel engine vehicle sales dropped 10.1% to to 9,348, while and petrol vehicle sales increased 7.5% to 81,905 units. Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) registrations were up 31.1% to 11,944 units, while, hybrids (HEVs) dropped -1.2% to 18,744.On full the electric front, 20,935 BEVs were registered in January, up 21%, taking the overall total since 2002 to 1,001,677.

Commenting on the figures, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said, “It’s taken just over 20 years to reach our million EV milestone – but with the right policies, we can double down on that success in just another two. Market growth is currently dependent on businesses and fleets. Government must therefore use the upcoming Budget to support private EV buyers, temporarily halving VAT to cut carbon, drive economic growth and help everyone make the switch. Manufacturers have been asked to supply the vehicles, we now ask government to help consumers buy the vehicles on which net zero depends.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson observed: “It is promising to see the year start off strongly with an increase in new car registrations in January, up by 8.2%. It is also encouraging to see that sales of electric vehicles have bounced back after experiencing a decrease in November and December. These give us an insight into how electric sales have fared since the implementation of the ZEV mandate at the start of the year.

“Despite the positive start to the year, it is important that the Government continues to support the automotive industry during the transition to zero emissions by investing in charging infrastructure and provide for financial incentives for EV buyers. These issues have been highlighted to the Government in NFDA’s 2024 Spring Budget submission.”