March 2022 was the best ever month for sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In the month, there were 39,315 sales of new BEVs, a 78.7% increase on March 2021, when there were 22,003. This represented a 16.1% market share compared to 7.7%.
These figures mean that in March 2022 there were more BEVs sold than during the entirety of 2019, the SMMT said.
To date this year, there have been 64,165 sales of new BEVs, compared to 31,779 for the same period in 2021- a change of 101.9%.
The SMMT said that with grants for BEVs ongoing until at least next March, with interest rates being low and EVs benefitting from lower running costs, there are “significant benefits” for drivers who order new vehicles now.
“With increasing household and business costs, government must do all it can to support consumers so that the growth of electric vehicles can be sustained and the UK’s ambitious net zero timetable delivered,” Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said.
Earlier this year, the SMMT called for VAT on electricity used for public chargepoints be cut to match that for home use, as well as for binding targets for the rollout of public chargepoints to help meet demand in light of surging BEV sales.
While BEV sales rose during March, overall new car sales in the UK fell by -14.3%, making it the weakest March since 1998. This is particularly significant due to March usually being the strongest month for sales, with 20% of total annual registrations usually recorded in the month.
Sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) fell by 7.5% to 16,037, while hybrids grew 28.4%. Overall, electrified vehicles represented 34.1% of all new car sales in the month.
Figures from New AutoMotive, meanwhile, put sales of BEVs in March 2022 at 35,815, with the company detailing how Tesla took the top spot in the EV market during the month with one in three vehicles being from the manufacturer.
In total, New AutoMotive said Tesla represented 5% of the new car market overall for March.
Additionally, the company found that based on a three-month rolling average, the areas that were EV hotspots in the month were Peterborough including Cambridgeshire, where EVs represented 40% of the new car market, Maidstone, covering all of Kent, (38%), Oxfordshire (32%), Bristol (23%) and Birmingham (22%).
New AutoMotive also found that diesel’s market share has halved in the past year, dropping from 16% in March 2021 to 8% in March 2022. Indeed, sales of BEVs are now consistently higher than diesel sales.