Stark warning on EV charger rollout as new car sales rise for sixth month

Britain’s new car market has grown for six consecutive months but the rollout of new electric vehicle charge points is failing to keep pace with demand, industry leaders have warned.

There were 131,994 new cars across the UK registered last month, up 14.7 per cent on January 2022, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said. Electrified vehicles are driving the increase. Registrations of hybrid electric vehicles were 40.6 per cent higher in January than during the same month in 2022.

A new SMMT forecast anticipates that total registrations across the whole of 2023 will reach some 1.79 million, up 11.1 per cent on last year, though down on pre-pandemic peaks of over two million.

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The industry body warned that the rollout of new electric vehicle charge points is failing to keep pace with demand. It stated that the ratio of new charge point installations to new plug-in cars fell from 1:42 in the final three months of 2021 to 1:62 between October and December last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The automotive industry is already delivering growth that bucks the national trend and is poised, with the right framework, to accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK economy. The industry and market are in transition, but are fragile due to a challenging economic outlook, rising living costs and consumer anxiety over new technology.”

Ian Plummer, commercial director at vehicle marketplace Auto Trader, said: “Against a backdrop of economic turbulence, six months in a row of year-on-year growth for the new car market is something to cheer, but sales of electric vehicles have come back down to earth. On our marketplace, demand for new electric vehicles is at a three-year low thanks to higher energy bills.”

John Wilmot, chief executive of car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, noted: “Healthy EV sales continue to show where the road to recovery lies, although the slow installation of chargers and the rising cost of home charging remain genuine concerns to car owners considering the switch to electric. The industry needs to be ready to spring into action when the economic climate brightens.”

EV charge points have been springing up in many places but the rollout needs to accelerate to entice more drivers to make the switch.
EV charge points have been springing up in many places but the rollout needs to accelerate to entice more drivers to make the switch.
EV charge points have been springing up in many places but the rollout needs to accelerate to entice more drivers to make the switch.

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