October sales of battery electric vehicles soar 86 per cent

The number of pure electric vehicles sold in October grew by 86.9 per cent compared to the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, which make up the majority of AFV sales, grew +31.0% and +19.1% respectively. However, the SMMT comments that this is not surprising given the announcement that the Plug-in Car Grant was to be cut for pure electric cars and withdrawn completely for plug-in hybrids.

The figures come as SMMT publishes new industry forecasts for AFV demand, with registrations expected to grow +82.5% from 2017 levels by 2020. Similar growth (+88.3%) is projected for plug-in electric cars, with 92,620 new plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars expected to be sold in the same year – taking market share to around 4.0%.2 This is at the lower end of government’s 3-7% stated ambition, with cuts to the Grant further undermining industry’s ability to deliver this ambition.

The UK new car market overall declined again in October, with 153,599 vehicles registered. Deliveries fell by -2.9% in the month, as model changes and backlogs at test houses conducting new WLTP emissions certification continued to cause shortages across some brands.

Declines were seen in both private and fleet sectors, with registrations down -1.0% and -5.2% respectively. Meanwhile, continuing uncertainty over government policy on diesel saw demand for these new, low emission vehicles fall by a further -21.3%. Registrations of petrol cars rose +7.1%, while the market for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) once again showed strong growth, up +30.7%, supported by new models.

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