UK’s electric vehicle market achieves milestone by registering one million EVs in January

In January 2024, the number of battery electric cars (BEVs) in the UK reached one million, coinciding with a significant growth in the new car market and a continuous surge in fleet demand.

This January gone, there were 142,876 new cars registered, marking an increase of 8.2% or approximately 10,882 units compared to the previous year. This represents the strongest performance for the month since 2020 and continues the trend of growth for the 18th consecutive month.

The growth in registrations was primarily driven by the larger fleet market, which experienced a significant increase of 29.9%. This segment accounted for over six out of every ten (63.2%) new cars registered, surpassing last year's figure of just over half (52.7%).

On the other hand, there was a decline in demand from smaller fleets with fewer than 25 vehicles, experiencing a decrease of 17.7%. However, when combining the registrations from both larger and smaller fleets, there was an overall increase of 28.8% to reach 92,632 units, compared to 72,355 units in January 2023.

In contrast, private retail uptake witnessed a decline of 15.8% during this period.

Electric Vehicle growth

In January this year, the number of registered Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) reached 20,935, marking a 21.0% increase compared to the previous year.

This incredible milestone brings the total number of BEV registrations since 2002 to 1,001,677. The market share of BEVs in January also saw a year-on-year growth, reaching 14.7%.

However, this falls short of the projected performance of 16.5% for the entire year of 2023.

Additionally, it is below the 22% share that carmakers must achieve to avoid penalties under the newly implemented Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate.

On the other hand, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) experienced a volume growth of 31.1%, accounting for 8.4% of the market.

Meanwhile, Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) witnessed a slight decline of 1.2% and held a 13.1% market share.

Even though the one millionth electric car hit the road this January automotive and industry experts are predicting that electric vehicles market will continue to soar and account for one in five registrations in 2024.

Conversely, both private and business registrations witnessed a decline. While diesel registrations observed a decrease of 10.1%, amounting to 9,348 units, registrations for petrol, electric, and plug-in hybrid vehicles exhibited an upward trend.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, stated, “It’s taken just over 20 years to reach our million EV milestone – but with the right policies, we can double down on that success in just another two. Market growth is currently dependent on businesses and fleets.

“Government must therefore use the upcoming Budget to support private EV buyers, temporarily halving VAT to cut carbon, drive economic growth and help everyone make the switch. Manufacturers have been asked to supply the vehicles, we now ask government to help consumers buy the vehicles on which net zero depends.”

The future of the EV industry

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has forecasted that there will be a total of 1.974 million vehicle registrations in 2024, with electric cars accounting for 21% of the market share.

According to the SMMT, the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry in the UK may face obstacles such as increased energy prices, inflation, interest rates, concerns about charging infrastructure, and inconsistent communication from the government.

These factors are expected to hinder the success of the EV industry in the country.