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Sales growth of electric vehicles in the UK slows to just 7% per annum

Publications that covered this story include The Times and The I on 3 December 2018.
  • Limited range of electric vehicles mean dealerships can’t meet potential demand
  • Electric vehicle sales accounted for just 0.6% of all vehicle sales last year…or 4% of the fall in diesel sales

Sales of electric cars have slowed in the past 12 months, increasing just 7% to 13,590* in 2017/18, up from 12,710 in 2016/17, our research shows.

To put the sales of electric cars in perspective,  their total sales represent just 4% of the 331,095 fall in sales of diesel cars; from 1,196,600 in 2016/17, to 864,905 in 2017/18.

The slow progress that the automotive industry has made in introducing affordable electric vehicles has frustrated many UK car dealerships as the limited range of products available cannot meet potential demand.

Despite car manufacturers’ ambitions to dramatically increase production volumes and ranges of electric vehicles, there are currently very few affordable or competitively priced options on the market. This means that the potential market for electric vehicles is still very limited, restricting sales growth.

Electric vehicles sold last year account for just 0.6% of all vehicles sold in the UK in the past year (2.4m).

Whilst electric vehicles are considered to be the future for the automotive industry most dealers feel it is far too early to look beyond the sales of hybrid cars – where sales have now captured a healthy market share.

Sales of hybrid vehicles increased 37% last year to 118,380, up from 86,340 in 2016/17.

Paul Daly, an automotive partner in our Manchester office, says: “Despite promises from manufacturers, low production volumes of electric vehicles means the market remains stuck in its infancy.”

“Limited ranges of electric cars mean dealerships can only target small segments of the market. There is clearly demand for electric vehicles but most consumers cannot access them due to the dearth of affordable models available.”

“Although there is demand for electric, consumers have raised concerns over the lack of infrastructure and the battery life of vehicles. These concerns will need to be addressed if sales are to truly take off.”

“The slump in the sales of diesel, has been accelerated by tax increases and by stricter emissions test which have limited new model launches. That’s put a real dent in overall car sales.”

“To help fill that gap manufacturers and dealers would like to see a return to better grants and tax incentives for purchasers of electric and hybrid cars.”

Sales of electric vehicles represent just 0.6% of total sales last year – sales by vehicle type

*Year-end 30th June