SMMT: Electric vehicles make up over third of UK cars produced in first half of 2023

27th July 2023

Production of hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles surged more than 70 per cent year-on-year over the first six months of 2023, with the UK auto industry pumping out a record 170,000 electrified vehicles in total over the period, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

According to the latest monthly figures released today, it means all forms of electrified vehicles represented more than a third – 37.8 per cent – of all cars produced in the UK between January and the end of June this year, sending yet more records tumbling in the emerging electric vehicle (EV) sector.

It comes after almost 25,000 new battery powered vehicles hit UK roads in May, marking an 8.7 per cent year-on-year increase compared to the same month last year, and driving the category to a near 17 per cent total market share. In terms of sales, EVs are now the second most popular option for buyers, second only to petrol vehicles, the figures show.

Moreover, SMMT also predicts a 10-fold rise in battery electric vehicle production to more than 750,000 units per year by 2030, which the trade association claims represents a potential £106bn prize from now until the end of the next Parliament.

The latest EV production figures also come a week after the owner of Jaguar Land Rover confirmed plans to build its flagship £4bn European electric car battery factory in the UK, after months of negotiation with government to secure a major state aid package.

The surge in EV production over 2023 so far has helped drive broader growth right across the UK automotive sector, with overall production of all cars – including electric, petrol and diesel – rising 11.7 per cent overall since January year-on-year to over 450,000 units. June 2023 saw a 16.2 per cent increase, marking the fifth consecutive month of growth in the sector, according to SMMT.

It means that, since January, UK factories have produced an additional 47,000 cars, an uplift driven by a 13.6 per cent surge in exports to 359,940 units, representing eight-in-ten cars made.

While overall year-to-date output remains 32.5 per cent below levels in 2019 prior to the pandemic-driven slowdown, this year’s performance to date represents the best first half since 2021.

Mike Hawes, SMMT’s chief executive, declared UK car manufacturing to be “growing again”, with production, especially of electrified models, increasing and major investment announcements making headlines.

“This is testament to the resilience of the sector and its undoubted strengths – a skilled and productive workforce, world-class R&D, and efficient, productive plants,” he said.

However, Hawes warned that to capitalise on the UK’s electric vehicle opportunity, far more support, incentives and policy clarity was needed to drive the sector’s growth in the coming years.

“But we must build on this momentum, sustain growth and attract further investments with a strategy that focuses on competitiveness and which strengthens the UK’s unique automotive offering,” he added.

Don’t miss our latest industry news. Check out Tesco Named UK’s most EV-friendly store.


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