Summary

  • Tesla continues to be the winner in all car sales, propping up the entire BEV category.
  • Withdrawal of OZEV grants on cars and EVSE means more than 4 in 10 vehicles sold are petrol-powered
  • Weakest March with new car registrations falling by -14.3% to 243,479 units
  • The sale of Electric Vans increased by over 17%, although diesel has a worrying 93% market share.

Earlier this week, we revealed that Tesla Model Y had become the number selling car in Europe. Today, SMMT has announced the sales figure for March from the UK and unsurprisingly, Model Y is the top-selling car (All cars, not just EVs) in the UK, with Model 3 at number 2.

While ICE cars such as Vauxhall Corsa and Kia Sportage had strong sales in January, Tesla appears to be fast catching up. With Giga Berlin opening up this month, we can expect Tesla to enter the Top 3 for annual car sales later this year.

Are we sustainable yet?

At 39,315, March 2022 saw the highest volume of BEV registrations ever recorded in a single month, with more car registrations in March 2022 than during 2019 (Covid lockdown year).

Petrol-powered cars continue to see strong sales accounting for 42% of all car sales. This figure indicates strong policy failures and could be attributed to:

56% of the buyers are private buyers, indicating there is more work to convey EVs’ benefits to the masses. Fleet owners have largely stayed away due to rising costs, and the availability of good quality used vehicles in the second-hand market.

While the market share for EVs such as BEVs and PHEVs has generally increased at the cost of diesel, stronger sales are required to dethrone petrol and make car transport sustainable.

Weakest March

UK new car registrations fell by -14.3% to 243,479 units in March, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Despite manufacturers reporting robust order books during the first quarter, ongoing supply chain shortages – especially semiconductors – continued to squeeze supply during the industry’s busiest month as buyers demand the latest number plate.

"March is typically the biggest month of the year for the new car market, so this performance is deeply disappointing and lays bare the challenges ahead. While demand remains robust, this decline illustrates the severity of the global semiconductor shortage, as manufacturers strive to deliver the latest, lowest emission vehicles to eagerly awaiting customers. Placing orders now will be beneficial for those looking to take advantage of incentives and lower running costs for electric vehicles, especially as the Ukraine crisis could affect supply still further. With increasing household and business costs, government must do all it can to support consumers so that the growth of electric vehicles can be sustained and the UK’s ambitious net zero timetable delivered." - Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive

Electric Vans & Pickups

The sale of Electric Vans continues to increase by 17.7% to 1,909 vehicles. We could expect this figure to increase this year with the arrival of exciting new models such as the Ford E-Transit.

Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux continue to see growing sales in the pickup trucks segment. There isn’t much news regarding the arrival of Electric Pickup such as Ford F-150 or Rivian in Britain.

Closing Remarks

We need all Electric Cars and Vans to become affordable and sell well to displace petrol and diesel. While performing strongly in Europe EU sales, Volkswagen group is yet to recover in the UK sales to make it to the top 10.

While currently in the 10th position year-to-date, Kia Niro is more likely to improve with the upcoming 2022 Niro EV. While grants have largely vanished for car owners, the existence of a £16,000 grant for Electric Vans should encourage more fleet owners to electrify their vehicles in the coming months.