One in five buyers goes electric as new car market gets electrified boost, while new analysis reveals average new car CO2 reached record low, down -11.2% in 2021.
The UK automotive sector recorded a positive start to 2022 as 115,087 new cars were registered, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Registrations were up by more than a quarter (27.5%) on January 2021, when lockdown restrictions kept car showrooms shut.
Electrified vehicles continue to bolster the growth, with battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) cars accounting for 71.5% of the uplift in registrations.
Plug-in vehicles enjoyed another bumper month, with 14,433 BEVs and 9,047 PHEVs registered, equal to some 20.4% of the market. With 13,492 HEVs also registered, almost one in three new cars joining British roads in January was electrified.
There are now more than 140 plug-in car models available to UK buyers, with almost 50 more scheduled for release in 2022. Cutting CO2 even further, however, will require more drivers to switch to electric and other zero emission technologies.
One of the obstacles remains perceptions of a lack of charging infrastructure, which must be built ahead of demand – and that demand is increasing exponentially.
Furthermore, as manufacturers strive to bring down the costs of these new technologies, government support through purchase incentives and reduced motoring taxes can help accelerate the take-up so that the road transport sector can meet society’s net zero timeline.
The rapid pace of change is underlined by the latest market outlook, which forecasts registrations of BEVs and PHEVs to grow by 61% and 42% respectively in 2022, meaning that, by the end of the year, almost one in four new cars would come with a plug.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Given the lockdown-impacted January 2021, this month’s figures were always going to be an improvement but it is still reassuring to see a strengthening market. Once again it is electrified vehicles that are driving the growth, despite the ongoing headwinds of chip shortages, rising inflation and the cost-of-living squeeze.
“2022 is off to a reasonable start, however, and with around 50 new electrified models due for release this year, customers will have an ever greater choice, which can only be good for our shared environmental ambitions.”