UK's Millionth EV Registered in January as Fleet Demand Soars

The United Kingdom achieved a significant milestone in its electric vehicle (EV) journey in January 2024, with the registration of the one millionth battery electric car (BEV). During the same month, the new car market in the UK experienced growth, primarily driven by the increasing demand from fleet customers.

In January, 142,876 new cars were registered in the UK, marking an 8.2% increase compared to January 2023. This performance is the strongest for the month since 2020 and represents the 18th consecutive month of growth in the new car market.

Interestingly, the growth in new car registrations was predominantly powered by the larger fleet market, which surged by 29.9%. This segment accounted for more than 60% (63.2%) of all new car registrations, a significant increase from just over half (52.7%) in the previous year.

In contrast, smaller fleets with fewer than 25 vehicles experienced a 17.7% decrease in demand. However, when combined with the larger fleet registrations, the overall fleet registrations saw an impressive 28.8% increase, reaching 92,632 units, up from 72,355 in January 2023. Private retail uptake, on the other hand, fell by 15.8%.

The UK new car market also achieved the anticipated milestone of one million BEV registrations since records began. In January alone, 20,935 BEVs were registered, reflecting a 21.0% year-on-year increase. This pushed the total number of BEVs registered in the UK since 2002 to 1,001,677.

Despite this remarkable progress, the BEV market share for January, at 14.7%, was slightly below the full-year performance of 16.5% in 2023. Furthermore, it fell short of the 22% share required by carmakers to avoid fines under the newly implemented Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) highlighted the volatility in BEV supply and the need for government-backed incentives to stimulate consumer demand. While fleet and business demand for BEVs increased by 41.7% in January, registrations to private buyers declined by 25.1%. The SMMT called on the government to temporarily reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on new BEV purchases in the upcoming Budget, a move that could accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.

The RAC echoed these calls for consumer incentives, urging the Chancellor to reintroduce a form of the Plug-in Car Grant and reduce VAT on public chargers.

Deloitte emphasized the importance of expanding the charging infrastructure, particularly near residential areas, to address consumer concerns and drive EV demand.

Jon Lawes, Managing Director at Novuna Vehicle Solutions, stressed the need for collaboration at the national and local levels to develop a robust and accessible network of fast public chargers to support the UK's net-zero ambition.

This milestone in the UK's EV adoption journey underscores the importance of continued support and incentives to encourage both fleet and private buyers to make the switch to electric vehicles.

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