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UK Electric Car Market Dips Slightly On Petrol Ban Reversal 

  • New car registrations in September rose by 21%, marking the 14th consecutive month of growth, with electric vehicle numbers increasing by 18.9%.
  • The UK government's decision to postpone the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles until 2035 has upset automakers who invested heavily in green vehicles.
  • SMMT's chief executive, Mike Hawes, and other experts stress the need for government incentives to sustain the momentum toward electric vehicle adoption.
electric car

New car registrations soared last month, industry figures show, as pent-up demand for new vehicles helped the auto sector motor towards its 14th consecutive month of growth.

September was the second busiest month of the year, with a 21 percent jump taking registrations to 272,610, according to the latest data from trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The electric car market continued to grow, with battery electric vehicle (BEV) numbers rising 18.9 percent and marking the 41st consecutive month of growth.

But overall BEV market share dipped slightly to 16.6 percent year-on-year, down from 16.9 percent and driven by a fall in demand from private buyers.

The figures come just weeks after Rishi Sunak rowed back on one of the government’s central automotive policies, a 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, delaying its implementation until 2035.

Many automakers reacted furiously to the news, with a number of major players, including Ford, BMW, Vauxhall, and Aston Martin, having invested heavily in the transition to greener vehicles.

And experts said today that consumer demand could be affected, with incentives required to keep the shift moving.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, hailed the “bumper September” but warned that the government needed to provide more incentives to encourage electric adoption in its upcoming Autumn Statement.

Unlike in the other major markets working towards a 2035 deadline, UK private motorists have no incentives to encourage them to go green.

“This means adding carrots to the stick – creating private purchase incentives aligned with business benefits, equalising on-street charging VAT with off-street domestic rates and mandating charge point rollout in line with how electric vehicle sales are now to be dictated,” he said.

“The forthcoming Autumn Statement is the perfect opportunity to create the conditions that will deliver the zero-emission mobility essential to our shared net-zero ambition.”

David Borland, EY UK and Ireland automotive leader warned that the government’s decision to move the sales ban from 2030 to 2035 could have a “negative impact on consumer demand for EVs in the short term, well as potentially affecting demand from fleet operators as both groups work out what the changes mean for them”.

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Borland added that with the industry investing “significant capital in anticipation of a 2030 ICE sales ban, the policy shift could see supply outstripping demand – a concern given the fact residual values of EVs are already facing challenges.”

By CityAM

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