Electric vehicle sales growth stalls in November as fleet buyers dominate

Tue 05 December 2023 View all news

The rate of growth of sales of battery electric vehicles stalled in November, prompting concerns that recent media messaging around EVs and, in particular, the delay announced to the end of sale of pure ICE vehicles may have been a factor.

Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) fell 17% in November 2023 compared with the same month a year earlier, to 24,359 vehicles. However, plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) sales rose by nearly 56% in the same period, to 15,871 units. Sales to private buyers fell while purchases by fleets were relatively buoyant, driven by attractive salary sacrifice schemes.

The market share of vehicles with plugs remains around 2% higher than last year in an overall new car  market almost 20% larger. The share of BEVs to total car sales has been 16.3% in the year-to-date November 2023, compared with 15.1% for the year earlier. (PHEVs 7.3% compared with 6.3%.)

The rate of market share growth of plug-in vehicles has been relatively slow this year, prompting concerns that EV production (now driven by legally-enforced ZEV Mandate legislation) may run ahead of consumer demand.

The fleet & business sector has increasingly dominated new vehicle sales in 2023. Sales to private buyers represented just 43.9% of the market (YTD November 2023) compared with 51.6% a year earlier. Meanwhile sales to fleet and business buyers are up by nearly 270,000 vehicles in the year to November, compared with a year earlier; sales to fleet and business buyers (of all vehicle types) have been over 56% of the UK market this year.

Commenting on the figures, Zemo's CEO Andy Eastlake said:  "The EV market is certainly in a turbulent phase , with new products, legislation, buyers and business models all coming rapidly, and we will need to see the December and January figures before we can be sure of the true direction.

"Recent figures certainly give some cause for concern that mainstream consumers are less eager to buy EVs so we may all need to redouble our efforts to boost confidence in vehicle and recharging capabilities to ensure that future demand matches available supply."  

Image: Courtesy EVClicks


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