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The UK was Europe's largest electric car market during the opening quarter of 2024

Updated: Apr 26

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Exclusive: The United Kingdom has become Europe's largest new pure electric passenger car market for the first time on a quarterly basis. 

According to European Electric Car Study data, published by Schmidt Automotive Research each month, the West European island nation ended the January - March period with its new BEV passenger car market recording a higher number of new BEV passenger car registrations than all other European markets. 

The European region includes all 27 individual EU member states plus EFTA markets Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and the UK.  

The former EU market, boosted by the twice-yearly license plate seasonality impact in March, saw 84,314 new BEV passenger cars enter its roads between January and March, an improvement of just over 10 per cent over the same period last year. That translated into a BEV new car penetration of 15.5% of its new car market this year, increasing by 0.1 percentage points over the same period last year.  

Traditional top market, Germany fell to second position with 81,337 new BEV units, a volume fall of 14.1% y/y, due primarily to government-supplied purchase subsidies being withdrawn since the start of this year, while France was just a whisker behind with 79,823 new BEVs, boosted by the introduction of a French state-backed social-leasing scheme which will help 50,000 low income households get behind the wheel of a pure electric vehicle this year, thanks to monthly lease rates of below €100.

Looking ahead, the UK market is poised for a substantial boost in 2024. This is due to the introduction of the zero-emission-vehicle mandate, a landmark policy that requires manufacturers to register 22% of their fleet as ZEVs. While not all manufacturers are expected to meet this level, the potential for growth is undeniable, with many manufacturers having to drop prices further to avoid missing compliance and facing tough fines. 

Discounting by stealth through attractive financing deals is expected to avoid negative impacts on residuals and maintain some rigidity. 

More in-depth analysis can be found in the study each month. ◼︎︎

The European Electric Car Study published by Schmidt Automotive Research each month and is available to purchase as a single edition or an annual subscription.

The study now also features a double page in-depth look at the Chinese OEMs as their European expansion slowly begins.


*Western Europe 18 Markets: EU Member States prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA markets Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, plus UK


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