electric vehicle charging

UK’s new car market recovers but concerns remain over lack of chargepoints

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The UK’s new car market recorded a third month of growth in October, but electric vehicle (EVs) sales fell below the overall market for the first time since the pandemic amid high energy prices and concerns about a lack of public chargepoints.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), EV registrations increased by 23 per cent to just under 20,000 and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by 6.2 per cent to 8,899.

However, uptake was less than the overall market, meaning that October is the first month to see EV market share fall year on year since May 2021.

The SMMT blamed the fall largely on supply challenges, with the ongoing global chip shortage continuing to impact car makers around the world.

It also said that the decline in growth demonstrates the importance of increasing public chargepoint provision.

At the start of October, the UK had 34,637 public standard, rapid and ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging devices, with 1,239 new rapid chargers and 5,023 new standard chargers installed during the first nine months of the year.

With 249,575 new EV registrations during the same period, just one new standard public charger has been installed for roughly every 50 new EVs bought by customers. At this rate, it is unlikely that government’s ambition for 300,000 public chargers by 2030 will be met, the SMMT said.

A Which? survey in September this year found that nearly three out of four EV owners in the UK have difficulties finding a public charger that works.

The new figures also show that deliveries of hybrid electric vehicles has rocketed by 81.7 per cent to account for more than one in 10 new cars, as supply was prioritised for a raft of popular new models. Overall, electrified vehicles accounted for one in three registrations, while more than a fifth (21.5 per cent) came with a plug.

A combination of factors including supply chain shortages, surging inflation and a growing cost of living crisis have led to expectations that puts 2022 on course to be the market’s toughest year since 1982.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A strong October is hugely welcome, albeit in comparison with a weak 2021, but it is still not enough to offset the damage done by the pandemic and subsequent supply shortages.

“Next year’s outlook shows recovery is possible and EV growth looks set to continue but, to achieve our shared net zero goals, that growth must accelerate and consumers given every reason to invest.

“This means giving them the economic stability and confidence to make the switch, safe in the knowledge they will be able to charge – and charge affordably – when needed. The models are there, with more still to come; so must the public chargepoints.”

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