Industry calls for

EV tax cuts

Kia Sportage, 2024, front, action
Ford Puma ST, 2024, front, action
Audi A3 Sportback 2024

THE next government needs to take drastic action to make electric vehicle ownership more affordable if targets for EV sales are to be hit.

That's according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the UK's vehicle manufacturers and importers, which revealed that sales of battery electric vehicles to private buyers are actually less than they were this time last year.

The SMMT's latest car sales statistics show that while overall sales grew in May, compared with the same month last year, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to private buyers dropped by two per cent.

Overall sales of BEVs rose by 6.2 per cent to claim an increased 17.6 per cent market share, but the growth was driven by fleet and business buyers who continued to fuel overall market growth, narrowly offsetting a 12.9 per cent decline in private retail uptake.

While deliveries of both petrol and diesel cars fell, demand for other types of electrified vehicles rose, with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) recording the highest growth of all powertrains, up 31.5 per cent and hybrids (HEVs) rising 9.6%, maintaining their status as the third most popular fuel type. The Kia Sportage was the UK's best-selling model in May, ahead of the Ford Puma with the Audi A3 in third place.

More than 100 BEVs are now available from car dealers and prices for many are being heavily discounted by manufacturers. But, says the SMMT, this cannot be sustained indefinitely as it undermines the ability of companies to invest in next generation technologies.

The market performance underlines the need for the next government to provide private consumers with meaningful purchase incentives, says the SMMT which wants to see VAT on new BEV purchases cut by half plus a cut in the VAT levied on public charging from 20 per cent to 5 per cent - in line with domestic use.

The organisation believes that this would drive up demand, putting more than a quarter of a million EVs on the road instead of petrol or diesel cars over the next three years.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, says: "Consumers enjoy a plethora of new electric models and some very attractive offers, but manufacturers can't sustain this scale of support on their own indefinitely. Their success so far should be a signpost for the next government that a faster and fairer transition requires carrots, not just sticks."

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