Used electric car sales in UK reach record highs

Sales of used electric cars were 71% higher in the first quarter of 2024 than in the same period last year, and sales of used hybrids are also increasing significantly.

Used electric car sales in UK reach record highs

New data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirms that more than 41,500 pure electric cars were sold on the used market in the first quarter of this year. This is a 71% uplift year-on-year.

Similarly, the number of used hybrid and plug-in hybrid car sales rose by more than 42% to reach more than 96,500 vehicles during the quarter.

At the same time, used diesel car sales fell by 1.3%.

The industry body attributed these trends to several factors including the growing availability of second-hand electric and hybrid models, motorists wanting to reduce their environmental footprint and potential cost savings due to high diesel and petrol prices.

Nonetheless, almost 98% of used car sales during the quarter were for models with an internal combustion engine. Used petrol car sales were up by almost 8% year-over-year as the market continued to recover from the pandemic and as motorists chose used over new amid the recession.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “A reinvigorated new car market is delivering more choice and affordability for used car buyers and, increasingly, they are choosing to go electric.

“To enable even more drivers to enjoy the benefits of zero-emission motoring, ensuring both supply and demand remains robust is essential.”

The trade body has advocated for policy interventions such as a VAT cut for new electric vehicles – partly to make up for a hike in upfront costs due to the Plug-In Car Grant being scrapped – and for a more concerted effort to scale Britain’s charging point network.

To this latter point, new Government-backed data released this month confirmed that Britain now hosts 60,000 public charging points, up from 30,000 at the start of 2022.

On upfront costs, the SMMT’s latest data on new electric car and van sales revealed that five in six registrations last month were made by businesses rather than individual motorists, suggesting that many still find the switch to a new EV unattainable.

Comments (1)

  1. Ian Byrne says:

    The volume of used car sales is, of course, largely dependent upon the number coming into the market. There may be a time lag, if cars sits on the forecourts for more than 3 months, but largely a rise in used car sales now means more people are selling their EV. In turn, this is probably linked to new EV sales volumes three years ago, as personal contract hire arrangements end, but could, perversely, indicate a dissatisfaction with EVs by their original owners.
    Having said that, I have just bought a second hand EV (and it’s my first EV, replacing an elderly diesel), and it’s my understanding that the previous owner (who had bought it new 3 years before) has replaced it with another EV, so must have been satisfied with the electric experience. But a sample size of one is a poor base from which to extrapolate!

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