EV sales rise in February according to New AutoMotive data

Owners of these new electric vehicles will enjoy a ‘battery bonus’ saving of almost £1300 a year

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By George Smeeton


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18% of all new cars sold in February were electric, according to New AutoMotive analysis of data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Over 14,000 electric vehicles (EV) were purchased in the UK in the second month of 2024.

Year-on-year EV sales grew by 28% in February. The jump in EV sales comes following the introduction of the UK’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate on 1st January, which has increased the availability of electric cars.

According to analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), drivers of the top 10 selling EVs of 2023 – such as the Tesla Model Y – will enjoy a £1,300 a year ‘battery bonus’ saving in running costs compared with equivalent petrol cars [1].

Conversely, drivers of the top 10 selling petrol cars of 2023 could face a ‘petrol premium’ of around £700 a year more to run their vehicles than their electric equivalents.

Over the course of their lifetimes, the EVs sold in February alone could save their owners over £250m, even accounting for cheaper petrol car sticker prices.

As manufacturers compete to sell vehicles to meet the Government’s targets, prices for new EVs are likely to continue falling.

In driving the uptake of new EVs, the Government’s ZEV mandate will help secure the UK’s energy independence by significantly reducing petrol and diesel consumption [2].

By comparison, recent analysis of licences for new oil fields in the North Sea has found they will account for less than 1% of the petrol and diesel that will be used in the UK in 2030 [3].

Ben Nelmes, New AutoMotive’s Chief Executive, said: “These figures show that Britain is pulling into the fast lane on the road to cheaper, cleaner transport. This is being driven by strong demand for electric cars as well as Britain’s world-leading Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate.

“More electric cars on the road mean more energy security, cleaner air and help millions of motorists who are increasingly having to choose between an empty tank or an empty wallet.

“Ministers now need to focus on making sure that as many people as possible are able to go electric by improving charging infrastructure and taking action to reduce the cost of electricity.”

Colin Walker, Head of Transport at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “Nobody is being forced to buy an electric car, in fact the Government’s policy is incentivising car manufacturers to invest more in manufacturing and advertising EVs, and the market has responded by snapping them up. Sticker prices are falling and EVs remain much cheaper to charge, leaving buyers of new petrol cars facing a petrol premium of £700 a year.

“The second hand EV market is already growing and this increase of new cars will boost that further in the years ahead making cheaper driving more available to the majority of us who always buy a used car. More EVs running off British electricity that increasingly comes from offshore wind farms means we’re less dependent on foreign oil and, as the North Sea output continues to decline, makes the UK more energy independent."

The research comes ahead of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) publication of its new car sales figures for February, with New Automotive analysing DVLA data to produce the figures.

The legislation, which came into force on 1st January 2024, requires that 22% of new cars sold by car manufacturers are EVs – rising year on year and reaching 80% in 2030, and 100% in 2035.

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Source: New AutoMotive electric car count

Notes to editors:

About New AutoMotive’s Electric Car Count

Electric Car Count is a monthly data series from New AutoMotive, a not-for-profit independent transport research organisation with a mission to accelerate and support the UK’s transition to electric vehicles. You can find out more about New AutoMotive by visiting www.newautomotive.org/mission

Electric Car Count provides an overview of the newly licensed passenger cars. It is released monthly, in the first few days of each month, providing data on the previous month’s newly licensed cars. In the UK, vehicles must be licensed (also known as registered) to be legally driven on UK roads.

The data shows the number of new type M1 vehicles (i.e. passenger cars) in the DVLA’s vehicle licensing database as it stands on, or shortly after, the 1st day of the month. More information is available at https://newautomotive.org/ecc

[1] https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2023/new-analysis-petrol-car-drivers-paid-a-700-petrol-premium-in-2023

[2] https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2024/electric-cars-will-boost-uk-energy-security-more-than-new-north-sea-oil-licences

[3] https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2024/british-fuel-from-new-north-sea-licences-would-make-up-less-than-1-of-a-tank-of-petrol

[4] https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2023/failure-to-develop-electric-car-industry-puts-13bn-of-uk-exports-in-jeopardy

For more information or for interview requests:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: george.smeeton@eciu.net. For New AutoMotive, email: newautomotive@harpswood.com