Electric car sales grew massively in the UK used car market in 2022, a stark contrast to the common theme of dwindling business in the automotive industry.
Car sales have never quite rebounded in the way many manufacturers hoped they might in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic which had a catastrophic effect on the industry. The total of new car registrations reached 1,614,063 in 2022, 2.0 per cent down on even 2021, let alone the 2,311,140 cars sold in pre-Covid 2019.
That trend is mirrored in the used car market. Overall, the SMMT found that 6,890,777 used cars changed hands over the course of 2022, an 8.5 per cent decrease in transactions compared to 2021 and way off the 7,935,105 total seen in 2019.
There is, however, consistent and substantial growth in the land of EVs. Even as the rest of the market struggles to revitalise after a tumultuous period, the transition to an electric future remains on course. Used car transactions that involved electric cars increased by 37.5 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021, totalling 71,071 by the end of December.
It’s still a very minor market share, just 1.0 per cent in fact, but the increase in EV takeup is exponential. Increased new sales of EVs is of course helping in this regard, as more of them are on the used market at reduced prices, which many buyers will consider the only way they can afford to make the change to electric.
The fuel crisis of summer 2022 will also have added some electrons to the atom, but aside from all the exterior factors, it’s worth noting that there are so many more desirable and, more importantly, usable EVs on the market now. Making the swap from a petrol Peugeot 208 to an electric e-208 is far more manageable than it might have been three years ago.
Now we look to the government and the businesses involved in upgrading the UK’s infrastructure to ensure the increasing number of EVs on the road can be sustained effectively. As it stands we fear this is not the case.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “While the market headlines are negative, and reflective of the squeeze on new car supply last year, record electrified vehicle uptake is a bright spot and demonstrates a growing appetite for these models.
“With new car registrations growth expected this year, more of the latest low and zero-emission models should become available to second owners. Accelerating uptake is key and will be dependent on drivers being assured of a positive ownership experience.
“This means ensuring charging infrastructure keeps pace with demand as more new and used car buyers make the switch to zero-emission motoring than ever before.”