Electric vehicle (EV) sales in the UK fell by 33.7 per cent in January and February, compared with the same two months last year, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In January 2018, a mere 635 new EVs were registered in the UK – 37.1 per cent less than 1,010 that rolled off dealer forecourts in January 2017.
As for February 2018, 355 new EVs were sold across the country, representing a 26.5 per cent decrease from February 2017’s figure of 483 registrations.
With a £4,500 government grant set to end next month, sales could drop by even more.
“These figures suggest that consumers are still worried about the four Rs that we see holding back the pure-electric market: retail price, range limitation, recharging availability and uncertain residual value,” stated Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.
“Until more affordable models come to market with a longer range, and more is done to make recharging less of a headache, it is hard to see how the picture is really going to change.”
The Department for Transport said that there have been over 130,000 claims for its plug-in car grant (£4,500 off EVs and £2,500 off PHEVs), with a spokesman stating that more than 11,500 public charging points had been installed, including 900 rapid chargers, making this the largest network in Europe.
Yet, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, more drivers have been opting for hybrids, powered by either a petrol or diesel engine. Overall, the number of all-electric sales is actually up, with 13,600 units being moved last year – 32.5% more than in 2016, though only 0.5% of total new car sales.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, commented: “Thanks to significant investment by industry there is an ever increasing range of pure electric and plug-in vehicles on the market, with more than 40 models now on sale and most major manufacturers having electrification plans in place.
“However, pure electric vehicle demand remains low, taking 0.5 per cent market share last year, amid consumer concerns around charging infrastructure availability and affordability.”