Electric car demand continues to buck downward trend on sales in July

Tristan Young

4.8.2022

Electric cars continue to buck the downward trend for new car registrations, according to official figures for July. Electric vehicle (EV) registrations were up 9.9% in July compared to the same month last year, while the overall market was down 9.0%. For the first seven months of the year, sales of fully-electric cars are up almost 50% and account for almost 14% of the new car market. 

The overall new car registration figure for July 2022 was 112,162. The year-to-date total was 914,241, a decrease of 11.5% on 2021 figures.

In a month where petrol and diesel prices soared to record levels, electric vehicles continued to increase in popularity as car buyers look for ever more efficient vehicles. During January to July, while electric new car sales have risen 49.9%, diesels have dropped by 43.6%. Petrol car registrations (including hybrids) have fallen 10.7%.

Plug-in hybrid sales were fractionally down for the year-to-date with a drop from 6.59 to 6.32%. The combined market share of PHEVs and pure battery EVs is now running above 20% for the year-to-date.July’s overall drop of 9.9%, marks five months of consecutive declines in new car registrations.

Data: SMMT

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which compiles the official figures, the drop was down to supply issues, particularly the ongoing shortages of microchips. However, it pointed out the decline in new cars has been taken by fleets rather than in private buyers. For the year, new car sales to private buyers are running up 3.7%, while for large fleets sales are down more than 25%.

With many brands having long lead times for new car deliveries, the impact of the cost of living crisis has yet to be seen in the figures. However, several car dealers Electrifying.com has spoken to in the past month have warned that orders are not the same as sales. These comments have been balanced by car makers reporting that if they have supply of electric cars and SUVs, or better still, electric SUVs, demand is still very high.

The new car figures reflect this view with those manufacturers who are able to supply such vehicles performing best. Of the highest volume brands, those performing best include Kia, Cupra, MG, Tesla, Polestar and Hyundai. Interestingly, value brand Dacia is also one of the most improved makes so far this year.

Founder and CEO of Electrifying.com Ginny Buckley said: “Plug-in hybrids have historically been seen as a stepping stone to fully electric, yet their sales decline shows drivers now have the confidence to make the straight switch, encouraged by improving charging infrastructure and bigger batteries.

“I remain concerned that the sales of electric cars are disproportionately skewed towards people who have off-street parking. Charging anxiety has replaced range anxiety, which is why we need to keep pushing to ensure our public charging infrastructure is accessible for all, reliable and affordable or else we risk leaving many people behind in the electric revolution.”

Polestar has had a good month

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