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Surge in demand for used electric cars

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Used car transactions fell by 8.5% in 2022 but there was record demand for electric vehicles.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 6,890,777 cars changed hands last year. Used cars saw 640,179 fewer vehicles sold in 2022 than in 2021, and was 13.2% below 2019’s pre-pandemic total. SMMT put the decrease down to the global shortage of semi-conductors restricting stock entering the second-hand market.

BEV has best ever year

But used battery electric vehicle (BEV) transactions bucked the overall trend, recording their best-ever annual performance with a record 71,071 cars finding new owners in 2022. This was a rise of 37.5%, and means BEV’s overall market share is now 1%, up from 0.7% in 2021.

There was also “robust demand” for other alternatively fuelled vehicles, with sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) rising 8.6% and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) transactions up 3.6%.

Electric vehicles represented 4.1% of the market in 2022, up from 3.3% in 2021. While transactions of used diesel and petrol cars fell by 11.8% and 7.7% respectively, they remained the dominant types of used car being sold.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While the market headlines are negative, and reflective of the squeeze on new car supply last year, record electrified vehicle uptake is a bright spot and demonstrates a growing appetite for these models.

“With new car registrations growth expected this year, more of the latest low and zero emission models should become available to second owners. Accelerating uptake is key and will be dependent on drivers being assured of a positive ownership experience. This means ensuring charging infrastructure keeps pace with demand as more new and used car buyers make the switch to zero emission motoring than ever before.”