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SMMT figures show battery electric vehicles bucking the trend of declining new car sales

The SMMT said BEV sales have risen 40.9% year-on-year. Image: Getty.

The SMMT said BEV sales have risen 40.9% year-on-year. Image: Getty.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales have continued to rise year-on-year despite overall declines in the new car market according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT figures show that during April 2022, 12,899 BEVs were sold, an increase of 40.9% on the same month last year. New car sales overall, however, fell 15.8%.

BEV sales during April 2022 made up 10.8% of the market, up from 6.5% last year.

It follows March being the best ever month for sales of BEVs, with more sold in the month than in the entirety of 2019. This is of particular note as overall new car sales in the UK fell by -14.3%, making it the weakest March since 1998.

The SMMT April figures can be compared to figures from New AutoMotive, released earlier this week, which put the market share of BEVs at a very similar 10.77%. However, New AutoMotive’s figures show there were 11,685 BEVs sold during the month.

SMMT's figures, meanwhile, show that to date this year, there have been 77,064 BEV sales - a 88.3% year-on-year increase. Sales of BEVs to date this year therefore represent a 14.4% market share, compared to a 7.2% market share this time last year.

Overall, SMMT has downgraded its market outlook for 2022 due to the ongoing impact of supply chain constraints and broader macro-economic factors. This includes its outlook for BEVs, with sales now forecast to be 289,000 this year compared to the original forecast of 307,000.

Plug-in electric cars are still expected to account for 25.2% of all sales this year, with BEVs set to make up one in six new cars.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said that while supply chain constraints continue to "drag down" the market, manufacturers are doing everything to can to deliver the latest low and zero emission vehicles.

"Accelerating the transformation of the new car market and the carbon savings demanded of road transport in such difficult times requires not just the resolution of supply issues, however, but a broader package of measures that encourages customer demand and addresses obstacles, the biggest of which remains charging anxiety," he said, reiterating previous calls surrounding the rollout of charging infrastructure.

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