According to new figures released last month by the lobby group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) last year saw new car registrations grow by just 1.0% on a pandemic-ravaged 2020, as 1.65 million new cars entered the UK market https://www.smmt.co.uk/2022/01/covid-stalls-2021-uk-new-car-market-but-record-ev-sales-show-future-direction/. The figures underline the ongoing impact of Covid and the semiconductor shortage on the industry, with the market down -28.7% on pre-pandemic 2019, representing the second worst year since 1992.
However, despite disruption to global supply chains 2021 was the most successful year in history for electric vehicles as more new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered than over the previous five years combined. 190,727 new BEVs joined Britain’s roads, along with 114,554 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), meaning 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021 can be plugged in. This is in addition to the 147,246 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) registered which took a further 8.9% market share in a bumper year for electrified car registrations, with 27.5% of the total market now electrified in some form.
As a result carbon dioxide emissions of new cars sold in the UK in 2021 fell to their lowest level since records began, with average new car CO2 emissions falling by 11.2% to 119.7g a kilometre driven. SMMT further reports that the average new car emissions fell last year by 38% since 2000.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “…Despite the challenges, the undeniable bright spot is the growth in electric car uptake. A record-breaking year for the cleanest, greenest vehicles is testament to the investment made by the industry over the past decade and the inherent attractiveness of the technology. The models are there, with two of every five new car models now able to be plugged in, drivers have the widest choice ever and industry is working hard to overcome Covid-related supply constraints.
“The biggest obstacle to our shared net zero ambitions is not product availability, however, but cost and charging infrastructure. Recent cuts to incentives and home charging grants should be reversed and we need to boost the roll out of public on-street charging with mandated targets, providing every driver, wherever they live, with the assurance they can charge where they want and when they want.”
Sources: https://www.smmt.co.uk/2022/01/covid-stalls-2021-uk-new-car-market-but-record-ev-sales-show-future-direction/ and The Guardian 5 February 2022 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/06/uk-carmakers-report-booming-sales-of-electric-vehicles
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