The UK's second-hand car market

Limited availability of small and mid-sized EVs on the second-hand market could see drivers miss out on cheaper running costs in coming years .

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A slower roll-out of electric cars, resulting in a smaller pool of second-hand EVs, could see second-hand car buyers paying an extra £9bn in the coming years to run more expensive small to mid-sized petrol cars, as compared to their electric counterparts.

The second-hand market for EVs is growing quickly with 2022 seeing record demand and a 37.5% increase in sales compared with 2021. Buyers of small to mid-sized EVs are saving around £500 to £800 a year on running costs compared with internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents. But if new EV sales don’t ramp up quickly in the coming years, many motorists buying on the second-hand market will continue to miss out on the savings that come from EV ownership.

If new EV sales continue along the trajectory currently set out in the Government’s consultation for the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, rather than track the car industry’s higher scenario, there will be more than 2.1 million fewer small and mid-sized second-hand vehicles (the most affordable categories) available.

The EU is also seeking to put in place a ZEV Mandate which requires manufacturers to sell an increasing proportion of electric vehicles year-on-year. If the EU’s mandate is more ambitious manufacturers could prioritise European markets to sell their EVs leaving UK motorists with limited availability and higher driving costs.