Government urged to act to support private EV purchases

Uptake of EVs has escalated 21-fold since 2018 with one sold every 60 seconds.

They now account for 16% of all vehicles sold in the UK and this is expected to rise to 17.8% by the end of the year.

But while personal owners drove uptake initially, fleets and business buyers now dominate the market with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders urging government to offer greater incentives to private buyers to ensure EV uptake does not stall.

The government ended the Plug-in Car Grant last year, leaving Britain as the only major European market with no consumer EV incentives and has since seen sales to private buyers fall from more than one in three, to less than one in four.

Demand remains strong though, with two thirds (68%) of non-EV drivers saying they want to make the switch, but just two per cent plan to invest this year and 17% in 2024 – with more than half saying they will not be ready until 2026 or later.

The SMMT is now urging government to reduce VAT on EV purchases, which would mirror existing discounts on other environmental products such as solar panels and heat pumps, while also raising the threshold for the Vehicle Excise Duty ‘expensive car supplement’ or exempting EVs altogether

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “We are entering a new phase in the UK’s EV transition, in which Britain can, and should, be a leader. We have the industry, the love of new technology and the scale to succeed. Government has recently demonstrated its commitment to EV manufacturing in the UK and that commitment must be extended to the consumer. With a new – and still to be finalised – Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate due to revolutionise the market in just over 100 days, supply must be matched by demand. A comprehensive package of measures would encourage households across the UK to go electric now, boosting an industry slowly recovering from the pandemic and delivering benefits for the Exchequer, society and the global environment.”