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Electric cars gain market share but chip shortage cuts UK auto sales by 25%

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
TIANJIN, CHINA - 2022/02/20: A Tesla store in a shopping mall.  According to the new data, U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla has sold 59,845 China-made vehicles in January of 2022. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Electric vehicles sales continued to perform well in February, with battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) taking a 17.7% market share. (LightRocket via Getty Images)

Some 58,994 cars rolled off the assembly lines in February as new car registrations rose by 15%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Despite the rise of 7,682 units, registrations are down 25.9% on pre-pandemic levels as vehicle supply remains constrained by semiconductor shortages.

Electric vehicle (EV) sales continued to perform well, with battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) taking a 17.7% market share to reach 10,417 units.

Registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), meanwhile, rose to 4,677 units and a 7.9% share of the market.

When combined with 6,883 hybrid (HEV) registrations, EVs accounted for more than a third of all new cars leaving dealerships.

Read more: UK car production plummets to 13-year low in January

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Despite February’s traditional low registration numbers, consumers are switching to EVs in ever-increasing numbers. More than ever, infrastructure investment needs to accelerate to match this growth.

“The government must use its upcoming Spring Statement to enable this transition, continuing support for home and workplace charging, boosting public chargepoint rollout to tackle charging anxiety and, given the massive increase in energy prices, reducing VAT on public charging points.”

April will see the effective end of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which has helped homeowners to install their own chargepoint.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is urging an extension to the EVHS and its business counterpart, the Workplace Charging Scheme, beyond 2025 so that EV uptake stays on track to meet the government’s net zero deadlines.

The SMMT also wants VAT on electricity used for public charging points cut to match that for home use.

“This will energise both consumer and business confidence and accelerate our switch to zero emission mobility,” Hawes said.

Read more: Carmakers hit the brakes on Russia as sanctions bite

The Ukraine conflict has become another factor to compound ongoing vehicle supply issues and undermine hopes of a volume recovery later in the year.

Several global manufacturers have halted deliveries to Russia, while others have been forced to paused production due to a lack of parts from Ukraine-based suppliers.

Among the manufacturers affected so far are Renault, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Stellantis and the Volkswagen.

February is typically the lowest volume month, as many buyers delay purchases until the new plate month of March.

Watch: Mini suspends production again due to chip shortage

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