First quarter sees 71% jump in second hand electric car sales

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ latest figures on the state of the used car market show a huge increase in take-up of second hand electric vehicles.

The overall used car market rose by 6.5% in the first quarter of 2024, the 16th successive month of growth. The recovering market for new cars leads to more cars entering the second hand market, improving availability and choice.

Inevitably, as time goes on, more EVs will become available in the second hand market and the new figures reflect that, with 41,505 being sold in the first three months of this year, a 71.0% increase on last year.

This gives EVs a market share of 2.1% and makes them the fastest growing power source as potential EV drivers find a cheaper route into zero-emission driving than buying new.

There is a similar, albeit less dramatic, story with Hybrids, the sale of which rose 49.3% to 74,502. Second hand plug-in hybrid sales rose 42.5% to 22,065.

Sales of petrol cars rose 7.7% to 1,130,396, while those of diesels fell by -1.3% to 697,718. Between them, petrol and diesel cars made up 92.9% of all sales, although the rise in EV sales pushed their market share down by just over 2% compared to the same quarter last year. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘A reinvigorated new car market is delivering more choice and affordability for used car buyers and, increasingly, they are choosing to go electric. To enable even more drivers to enjoy the benefits of zero emission motoring, ensuring both supply and demand remains robust is essential. Incentivising new EV uptake and investing in a chargepoint network that is accessible, available and affordable to all will drive the nation’s net zero transition.’

It has been a good start to the year for new EVs too, with the powertrain making up 17% of new car sales, according to the latest Electric Car Count from New AutoMotive.

20,000 EVs were sold in April and figures suggest that around 300,000 will be sold in 2024 as a whole. 

Ben Nelmes, CEO at New AutoMotive, said: ‘April’s car sales show the mandate starting to have an impact. This is good news for households, since switching to electric cars is one of the parts of net zero that will save people money.’


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