Amid the fuel crisis, car sales in the UK are down, but electric vehicle sales are at an all-time high

Last month, the number of electric vehicles sold in the UK approached the total for the year, with panic-purchasing at the petrol stations expected to increase consumer enthusiasm for cleaner vehicles. About 33,000 pure electric vehicles were recorded in a historic month for EVs, nearly 50 percent higher than last year, as new car sales fell to their lowest level in more than two decades in September.

As per the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, (SMMT), the global semiconductor shortages affecting vehicle manufacturers were a big issue, as only 215,312 new automobiles were registered in total last month, the lowest amount since 1998. Numbers were a third lower than last September when the Covid-19 restrictions slowed car purchases and sales, and about 45 percent lower than the ten-year average before the pandemic.

September is usually the industry’s second busiest month of the year. The headline results were “desperately disappointing,” according to Mike Hawes, who serves as the chief executive officer of the SMMT, and additional proof of the impact of the semiconductor scarcity, particularly from Asia, on the industry.

In a month that concluded with fuel supply difficulties making headlines, as motorists struggled to locate diesel or petrol to fill their tanks, battery-powered automobiles took a record share of the new car market. Almost 15 percent of new vehicles sold were fully electric, up from 11 percent in August, with nearly 7,000 Tesla Model 3 automobiles becoming the most popular EV on British roads.

Analysts noted it was too early for the effect of the fuel issue to manifest in sales because most EV deliveries have extensive lead times. “The annoyance of long lines and empty pumps has prompted many motorists to investigate the transition to electric,” said Jamie Hamilton, who serves as the automotive director at Deloitte.

After news that a lack of tanker and lorry drivers was hurting forecourt fuel supply led to massive panic-buying at the pumps, vehicle retail websites like Auto Trader reported a surge in interest in electric automobiles.

“For those already considering about going electric, the image of electric car drivers breezing past huge queues at the service stations during September’s petrol crisis may have been a clincher,” said James Fairclough, chief executive of AA Cars.

Hawes urged the government to increase funding for charging stations. “The rapid adoption of plug-in vehicles, particularly battery electric vehicles, illustrates the growing demand for these innovative technologies,” he explained. “However, to fulfill our collective decarbonization goals, we need to ensure that all drivers – not just those with private driveways – can make the move,

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