Electric Cars

Electric vehicle sales overtake diesel for first time - and there's a new EV law now in force

Electric vehicles are now more popular than diesel when it comes to buying new cars - make sure you know the new law that's come into force for EV charging points.

Electric vehicle sales have overtaken diesel for the first time, new figures show.

There were 1.61 million new cars registered in 2022, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Of these, 16.6 percent were battery electric cars, making them now the second most popular type of car after petrol.

In total, 22.9 percent of all new cars registered had some sort of plug-in power - including plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles.

Diesel sales plummeted 38.9 percent in December compared to the previous 12 months. Meanwhile fully electric battery vehicle sales increased 40.1 percent.

It's not only private consumers who are responsible for the boom in electric vehicles - fleets and business buyers accounted for two thirds (66.7 percent) of battery electric vehicle registrations.

Electric cars have lower overall running costs, of about £1,000 a year, largely down to the cost to charge a battery compared to petrol or diesel, our research shows. But there are other expenses. It is more expensive to insure an electric vehicle, due to the less common car parts and more complex repairs needed. Plus the Government will be introducing vehicle tax from 2025.

In its report, the SMMT said introducing vehicle tax will "disproportionately penalise those moving to electric".

The UK also needs another 300,000-720,000 chargepoints installing by 2030. To hit even the lower forecasted number, 100 new chargers need to be installed every single day. The current is about 23 per day, the SMMT says.

New electric vehicle charging law now in force

Meanwhile, a new electric car charging law has now come into force.

Since December 30 2022, permission must be given to anyone anyone wishing to install a non-compliant EV charger.

Charge points must have their own unique passport in a bid to protect people's personal data.

The new laws will also account for the increasing demand for electricity, with smart technology allowing for charging to occur when there is lower demand on the grid.

Approval for any charge point installed from December 31 2022 must have approval from the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

The chargers must have smart functionality, with the ability to send and receive information and respond to signals, plus measure the electricity imported and exported. A full list of requirements can be found here.

Is the UK ready for the switch to electric vehicles?

Speaking about the increase in sales of electric vehicles and the need to improve EV take-up further, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "Manufacturers’ innovation and commitment have helped EVs become the second most popular car type. However, for a nation aiming for electric mobility leadership, that must be matched with policies and investment that remove consumer uncertainty over switching, not least over where drivers can charge their vehicles.”

The total number of new cars sold in the UK is down two percent compared to the previous year and a quarter below pre-Covid levels. It makes it the lowest level of car registrations since 1992.

Supply shortages have been blamed for the slump, rather than a lack of demand, with manufacturers struggling to source parts such as semiconductors, due to coronavirus lockdowns in China.

In a sign the market is picking up again, December 2022 was the fifth consecutive month of growth for new cars, the SMMT said.

And despite the lower-than-usual sales, the UK is once again the second largest new car manufacturer in Europe, having previously been overtaken by France. Germany retains the title.


Average cost to change an electric vehicle in 2023

Should I buy an electric car?

Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


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