Sales of electric vehicles have remained at the same market share of 14%, just seven years before new petrol and diesel models are due to be phased out.
One consumer advice site described the static numbers as “underwhelming” and said the latest figures show buyers are willing to continue buying cheaper petrol and diesel cars rather than opt for the lower running costs of an electric vehicle.
New car registrations grew by 26% in February with private sales up by 6% and fleet sales increasing by 46%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
But analysis by the Car Expert reveals that the vast majority of the growth has been for petrol-powered new cars, which have increased market share, while electric and plug-in hybrids have lost market share.
The popularity of petrol-powered vehicles remains high as sales rise by a third (35%) compared to February last year – an increase of more than 11,000 cars.
Their market share for the year-to-date is over 43%, nearly 3% higher than in 2022. Increasingly seen as just a stopgap, plug-in hybrid cars remain relatively unpopular with buyers as their year-to-date market share declines from nearly 8% to just above 6%.
Electric vehicle sales so far this year are only on par with last year, recording exactly the same market share of 14%.
Stuart Masson, editorial director at The Car Expert, said: “The data shows that overall new registrations were up by 15,000 units in February, but 11,000 of these increased sales were petrol-powered cars. EVs improved by less than 2,000 sales, so we’re seeing petrol cars increasing in market share while EVs have gone down. This is going the wrong way.
“Looking ahead to March, we expect to see Tesla shifting a lot of EVs, which should ‘balance the books’ to a certain degree.
“But other brands will need to start growing their EV sales to make the necessary inroads on fossil-fuelled vehicles.
“There are always high expectations in March from across the industry, a lot will be riding on next month’s results and it will be interesting to see how flexible brands become with offers, and whether EV sales increase more rapidly.”
Edinburgh to boost chargers and tariffs
The data emerges as Edinburgh Council plans more than 500 additional public electric vehicle charge points in Edinburgh, but will also raise the cost of charging.
The council wants to procure a commercial charge point operating partner to deliver most of the charge points while sharing any profits, as well as helping the Council to unlock access to funding to install more chargers.
A new tariff regime agreed will “ensure that tariffs cover recent increases to the cost of electricity”.
Changes have also been made to increase maximum stay periods for rapid chargers and to remove overnight enforcement for fast chargers, in response to feedback from residents.
Changes to tariffs and enforcement
• Standard (7kW) chargers: Cost per kWh will increase from 25p to 45p.
• Fast (22kW) chargers: Cost per kWh will increase from 30p to 50p; the three-hour maximum stay period will not be enforced overnight (between 11pm and 8am).
• Rapid (50kW) chargers: Cost per kWh will increase from 35p to 55p; the maximum stay period will increase from 30 minutes to one hour.
Officers are currently developing a financial model which will be used to inform tariff setting from 2024/25 onwards.