Thursday, June 13, 2024
Cars

‘I’m an expert – the UK’s EV future relies on used cars and sales are worrying’


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Used electric car demand may be stalling (Image: Getty)

Demand for second-hand used electric cars appears to be struggling with customers and dealers hesitant to make the giant EV leap. 

A mix of price worries, battery concerns and charging woes are holding back the UK’s electric transition at arguably its most pivotal stage. 

Frankly, if EVs cannot break through to the used car market a genuine transition away from combustion petrol and diesel vehicles is likely doomed. 

Data from car marketplace specialists WeBuyAnyCar revealed a staggering 7,242,692 used cars were sold in the UK last year compared to 1,903,054 new models. 

This means 79.19 percent of all cars purchased in Britain were second hand with just one in five newly registered. 

Dealers are not keen to stock electric vehicles (Image: Getty)

However, the used electric car market appears to be one of concern at the moment despite experts’ best attempts to put a positive spin on it. 

At the end of 2023, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) boasted that used EV sales had reached “record levels”.

Although, what’s worrying is a closer look at the statistics suggests that used sales should be doing a lot better at this stage.

In the first quarter of 2023, zero-emission cars made up just 2.1 percent of the total market share. 

Just 41,505 exchanged owners while 74,502 hybrid models were sold in the first three months of the year. 

This is barely a scratch on the 1,130,396 petrol cars sold in the same period while a staggering 697,718 used diesels were bought despite repeated calls the compound leads to higher pollution.

Of the top 10 models sold in Q1, none were fully electric models designed by manufacturers with big brands such as the Ford Fiesta and the Vauxhall Corsa still on top.

New data from new and used car specialists AutoTrader also revealed a stark reality as three of the top 10 worst-selling cars on the marketplace were found to be electric.

The Fiat 500e, Volkswagen ID.5 and ID.3 all took around three months to find new owners while three Petrol Plug-In Hybrid cars were also on the list. 

According to the Electric Car Scheme, a lack of cars isn’t even a problem with used EV supply increasing by 174 percent year-on-year with demand up by just six percent.

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New data from second-hand motor traders HonkHonk suggests dealers are also playing their part with many turning their backs at second-hand EVs. 

The poll shows that more than one in three dealers said they are “much less interested” than a year ago in taking an EV. Meanwhile, just 7.7 percent said they were much more interested or a bit more interested in selling electric vehicles.

Depreciation is at the heart of this issue with experts at Motorpoint claiming that EVs lose value “very slightly faster on average than petrol and diesel-powered models”.

The Electric Car Scheme showed how some vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV had dropped over £6,000 in just six months. 

Three of the top 10 worst-selling cars on AutoTrader were electric vehicles (Image: Getty)

Despite this, second-hand EVs are still almost double the price of petrol and diesel cars with starting costs around the £12,000 mark.

The SMMT seems to realise there is an issue with the industry previously calling for VAT to be halved on new EVs to stimulate stock growth.

But, Jeremy Hunt refused to make EV concessions in his latest Budget despite repeated warnings. 

Second-hand cars are the pillar of the UK market that almost all motorists rely on and they don’t want EVs at this stage. The question is; will they ever?



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