Smart Transport

UK EV growth couldn't stop October new car decline

Despite 195.2% growth year-on-year for battery electric vehicle (BEVs) sales in October, the UK new car market still dropped by 1.6%.

According to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there were 9,335 BEVs registered in October, but growth was even better for mild-hybrid petrol models with growth of 545.8% Y-O-Y to 16,023 units.

The industry recorded total 140,945 new registrations last month, making it the weakest October since 2011 and -10.1% lower than the average recorded over the last decade.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "When showrooms shut, demand drops, so there is a real danger that with England today entering a second lockdown, both dealers and manufacturers could face temporary closure.

"What is not in doubt, however, is that the entire industry now faces an even tougher end to the year as businesses desperately try to manage resources, stock, production and cashflow in the penultimate month before the inevitable upheaval of Brexit.

"Keeping showrooms open – some of the most Covid-secure retail environments around – would help cushion the blow but, more than ever, we need a tariff-free deal with the EU to provide some much-needed respite for an industry that is resilient but massively challenged."

Amanda Stretton, Centrica sustainable transport editor, said it was encouraging to see that there is still an appetite for EV adoption despite the current climate.

Stretton said: "However, to enable significant uptake, we need to see greater commitment to rolling out charging infrastructure in public places and the continuation of grants available for home charging."

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.


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