Latest data from New AutoMotive’s Electric Car Count shows electric car sales continued to increase in 2023, despite a slowdown at some firms in the last 2 months, as industry prepares for the introduction of a new law which will boost sales in 2024.

Pure electric cars accounted for 19.9% of sales in December 2023, down on the record levels set in December 2022, but close to the 22% which Government legislation is targeting in 2024.  The main contributor to the drop on 2022 levels is the much lower sales of US electric car manufacturer Tesla, which has suffered a series of setbacks in production in the second half of 2023 – meanwhile multiple other firms have stepped in to fill the gap. 

Growth in EV sales: top ten UK EV sellers

Comparing electric car sales for whole of 2023 with sales in the whole of 2022.

Source: New AutoMotive electric car count

However electric car sales are now a firmly established part of the market, rising 18% year-on-year in absolute numbers (297K in 2023, compared with 251K in 2022), with a slightly increased market share (16.8% compared with 16.7%) – meaning that one-in-six new cars sold over the past 2 years have been electric. Existing sales volumes will mean 1 million electric cars on UK roads by the end of January 2024. 

To continue this growth, legislation approved by Parliaments across Britain which came into force this week introduces a major set of incentives for makers to sell more electric cars and vans.  The new law – the first of its kind in the UK – introduces a series of rewards for car makers to sell more electric cars and will promote increased electric vehicle production in the UK. The rewards become available from 2nd January, meaning that car companies are focusing on ramping up deliveries of electric cars from that date. 

Ben Nelmes, New AutoMotive’s Chief Executive, said: “A slowdown in December has long been forecast, especially when compared with record high sales in December 2022. However, electric car sales have held up well, just shy of the 22% target set by the California-style Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate that came into force this week.

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“Electric car sales for the whole of 2023 are up on the previous year, whilst the decline in market share of petrol and diesel continues. 

“The car market is highly volatile from month to month, but we expect continued growth in sales through 2024 as people become more familiar with electric cars and the Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate delivers the cars that people want at prices they can afford. Nevertheless, Government needs to champion the transition – both explaining the financial benefits, and tackling widespread misinformation, which it committed to in its Plan for Drivers.”

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