Electric car sales push market higher in October

Tristan Young

6 Nov 2023

Plug-in car sales in have been the driving force behind a 14.3% growth in October’s total new car sales stats. Pure electric car sales were up more than 20% to take 15.6% of the market last month, while plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations were up a whooping 60% on the same month last year.

PHEV cars outsold diesel cars in October, taking 9.3% of the market against diesel’s 7.3%.

Electric car sales were helped by Tesla’s move to a more regular, monthly, delivery pattern for new cars. The brand only registered 11 cars in October 2022, when it was running a quarterly supply schedule. In October this year, Tesla sold 2,677 cars and the Model Y is the year’s fifth best-selling car.

For the first 10 months of 2023 battery electric cars have taken a 16.6% market share, up 34% on the figure a year ago. The total market for all new cars is now up almost 20% this year.

While the majority of the new car sales increases have been powered by the company car market (predominantly fully electric or plug-in hybrid), which is up more than 40% this year, private registrations are also fractionally up on 2022.

New car dealers that Electrifiying.com spoke to said the cost of living crisis had made sales more difficult, plentiful supply of most cars and significant discounts and offers were helping buyers to change car.

One dealer, reflecting what others mentioned, said that there were “too many £80,000 electric SUVs in stock and not enough smaller, less expensive cars that people want”.

Several retailers also added they expected car makers would start limiting the number of petrol cars that were supplied and increased the number of electric cars in order to meet the Government’s Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate. The new rules state that 22% of new car registrations for each brand must be electric in 2024 rising to 80% by 2030.

Tesla's Model Y is the fifth best-selling car overall in the UK to date with more than 30,000 sold

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