UK electric vehicle sales surged in March as overall registrations fell sharply amid rising fuel prices, industry figures showed.
New car registrations dropped 14.3% to 243,479 units – the weakest result since 1998 when the UK went to two number plate changes a year – as supply chain shortages hit deliveries, the SMMT trade body said.
Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose 79% to 39,315 units and all electrified vehicles made up one in three sales.
Orders were solid but shortages of semiconductors and other components constrained supply during what is normally the industry’s busiest month with the switch to the latest number plate. Registrations for the first quarter were down 1.9%.
SMMT said: “With the industry reporting strong order books, it is the constraints on supply that are preventing the sector from moving into full recovery. Economic headwinds such as rising energy costs, fuel costs, inflation and a squeeze on household incomes could impact new vehicle demand.
“With grants for BEVs ongoing until at least next March, however, interest rates still low and electric cars benefiting from lower running costs, there are significant benefits for drivers who can order new vehicles now.”