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Used electric car sales increase by 90.9% in 2023, setting record numbers in the UK

By Mathilda Bartholomew | February 8, 2024

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In 2023, the UK witnessed a remarkable surge in the demand for used electric cars, with sales nearly doubling compared to the previous year

Used electric car sales increase by 90.9% in 2023, setting record numbers in the UK

New data reveals that sales of pre-owned battery electric cars nearly doubled last year. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a record-breaking 119,000 used electric vehicles changed ownership in the UK in 2023, marking a substantial 90.9% surge compared to the previous year. The market share for used battery electric car sales also saw a noteworthy increase, rising from 0.9% in 2022 to 1.6% in 2023.

The SMMT interprets these figures as indicative of a strong demand for zero-emission driving. In contrast, the overall used car market experienced a 5.1% growth in 2023, totalling 7.2 million transactions, compared to 6.9 million in 2022. The Ford Fiesta emerged as the most popular used car purchase, boasting 308,000 sales in 2023.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes emphasised the importance of a robust new car market in driving choices in the used sector. He said, “A healthy new car market is key to driving choice in the used sector and it’s great to see record numbers of second and third owners benefitting from the growing availability of electric vehicles.

“The demand is there, but to sustain it we must enable every motorist to make the switch.

“The upcoming Budget is a prime opportunity for Government to do just that – halving VAT on new EVs, while making public charging as easy and affordable as plugging in at home, would ensure a faster and fairer transition for all, giving the UK a green economic boost.”

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director at Auto Trader, noted the infancy of the used electric car market but highlighted its growth due to softer prices, increased availability, and greater model choices. He stated, “The used electric market may still be in its infancy, but last year saw a definite growth spurt.

“Significantly softened prices, greater availability and more choice has proven a compelling combination for car buyers.

“With many second-hand models now at price parity with their traditionally fuelled counterparts, along with lower running costs, the switch to electric has never been more attractive.”

Alex Buttle, Co-founder of Motorway.co.uk, attributed the steady supply of high-quality used cars to the growing production of new cars. He explained, “With new car production growing, more car owners sold their cars to get their hands on new or nearly-new vehicles.

“This led to a steady supply of high-quality used cars for savvy motorists keen to get a great deal.”

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