UK new car registrations rose by 15% year on year in February, reflecting the easing of Covid restrictions, as an industry body called on the government to cut VAT on electric vehicle charge points in the face of soaring energy prices.
New vehicle registrations were down 25.9% on February 2020 pre-pandemic levels, due to to constraints on vehicle supply caused by semiconductor shortages, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Friday.
Compared with February 2021, when showrooms were closed and only click-and-collect was permitted, private registrations rose by 30%.
The SMMT also reported “another bumper month” for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which took a 17.7% market share to reach 10,417 units, while registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rose to 4,677 units and a 7.9% share of the market.
When combined with hybrid (HEV) registrations (6,883), electrified vehicles accounted for more than a third of all new cars leaving dealerships.
“While this demonstrates the growing demand for electric cars, February is typically the lowest volume month, as many buyers delay purchases until the ‘new plate’ month of March, and fluctuations in supply for some key models can have a more pronounced effect in terms of market share,” the SMMT said.
“Of greater concern to the long term delivery of net zero road transport, however, is the need for accelerated public chargepoint provision. Investments are being made, but at a pace that continues to lag behind plug-in vehicle uptake.”
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes called on the government to use its upcoming Spring Statement to reducing VAT on public charging points given soaring energy prices.
“This will energise both consumer and business confidence and accelerate our switch to zero emission mobility,” he said.