EV forecasts fall as Government cuts incentives

Motor manufacturers are warning that the Government’s decision to cut the Plug-in Car Grant has damaged the outlook for future sales, which look set to ‘lag behind government ambitions’.

The SMMT has included hybrids and plug-in vehicles in its quarterly forecast for the first time, predicting that plug-in and pure electric car sales will have a 4% market share by 2020. This is at the lower end of the government’s 3-7% stated ambition. The association’s outlook shows that plug-in car sales will rise 13.2% to 56,000 in 2018, by 25.7% to 70,000 in 2019 and by 32.4% to 93,000 in 2019.

It expects diesel’s share of the new car market to fall to 580,000 or 25.2% by 2020.

Plug-in vehicle registrations were the bring spark in an otherwise disappointing set of new car registration figures for October, which saw total deliveries fall 2.9% compared to the same period in 2017.

Registrations for pure electric and plug-in-hybrid cars rose by 86.9% and 19.1% respectively, partly in response to the news that the Plug-in Car Grant was being cut. Diesel’s share of the market continued to fall and now stands at 31.9% after a 21.3% decline in monthly registrations.

Commenting on the results, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “VED upheaval, regulatory changes and confusion over diesel have all made their mark on the market this year, so it’s good to see plug-in registrations buck the trend.”

He went on to echo the BVRLA’s call for a swift review of the new WLTP emissions standard and its impact on taxation: “The Government’s forthcoming review…must ensure that buyers of the latest, cleanest cars are not unfairly penalised else we will see older, more polluting cars remain on the road for longer.”