CEO Update

How do we supercharge the EV transition? By putting the consumer first

11 August 2023 #CEO Update

This week’s good news was brought to us by the used car sector, recovering well and delivering growth every month this year. The latest quarterly figures reveal that transactions topped 1.8 million during the year’s second quarter, growth driven by the continued easing of supply chain disruptions that have helped recharge the new car sector. Although we’re not quite yet back at pre-pandemic levels, it is good to see the industry’s recovery continue apace.

Unsurprisingly, all eyes were fixed on the performance of used battery electric vehicles, which didn’t disappoint. Q2 sales were up by a significant 81.8% to take a record share of the market as increasing supply allowed more buyers to get behind the wheel of a pre-owned EV at price points to suit their budgets. Plug-in hybrids and hybrids also enjoyed double digit growth and greater market shares, marginally reducing traditionally fuelled vehicle market share to 94.3%.

This is great news for motorists and for the sector but, to meet the undoubted appetite for second hand electric vehicles, a healthy new car market must be sustained – and this comes down to putting the needs of consumers first. As our net zero goals move ever closer, priority must be placed on providing accessible, affordable and reliable charging for all drivers – up and down the entire country – powered by low cost, green energy. Anything less and we risk losing the confidence needed for this transition.

Manufacturers are, of course, heavily invested in decarbonisation and are committed to meeting – and in some cases beating – the 2030 target. With the choice of EVs available to new and used buyers expanding, we now need government to ensure all consumers can benefit – providing the support and encouragement needed to purchase, charge and own an EV, whether brand new or pre-loved.

So we welcome the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee’s inquiry into the UK’s EV transition. Most importantly, the Committee will examine the measures necessary to make the switch as easy and accessible as possible, both for consumers and businesses. SMMT will be submitting evidence to the Committee’s inquiry.

Our next event, SMMT Electrified 2023, will also focus on the issues around the electrification of road transport. Taking place on 18 September, this high profile conference will host experts from across automotive and associated industries, as well as speakers from government, who will discuss the UK’s path to net zero.

There are limited places available and SMMT members are eligible for one complimentary ticket per organisation. To book yours, contact

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