Second-hand electric car sales doubled in the third quarter of 2023 to give them a record market share, as the overall used market grew for the third quarter in a row.
In the three months from July to September, the share of electric cars on the used market rose from 1.0% to 1.8% year on year, with total volumes increasing by 99.9% to 34,021 units. This record market share, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), was a result of an increase in supply, aided by an easing of the semiconductor shortage, which has boosted sales of new cars and, in turn, fed the second-hand market.
The used market as a whole grew by 5.5% during the third quarter, with 51,893 more transactions than in the previous quarter, taking the total to 1,884,160 – the highest figure since the pandemic.
The uptick in second-hand electric car sales comes after a slump in prices in the run-up to August, with values falling by an average of 44%.
In September, however, values for less expensive models, such as the Renault Zoe and BMW i3, appeared to bottom out, with a fall of just 1%, although prices for more expensive models continued to fall in October. For example, values for the Mercedes EQC and Kia EV6 dropped by 5.9% and 5.1% respectively.
SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: “The used car market continues to grow strongly, with re-energised supply unlocking demand for pre-owned electric vehicles – the result being twice as many motorists switching to zero-emission motoring in the quarter.
“Maintaining this momentum requires growth in the new car market, to boost supply to the used sector and cement this success. Equally important is the urgent need for charging infrastructure roll-out so that all drivers can have confidence in being able to charge whenever and wherever they need.”
Alongside the twofold increase in electric car demand, the sale of used petrol and diesel cars also grew, by 4.0% to 1,065,448 and 2.3% to 704,204 units respectively, while plug-in hybrid used sales increased by 34.6% and hybrids by 46.4%.
This coincides with yet another quarterly uptick in the sale of used superminis, wherein the Ford Fiesta remained as the UK’s best-selling second-hand car during the third quarter, with 79,756 sold. It was followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (61,290 sales) and Volkswagen Golf (58,298).
A total of 607,484 superminis changed hands, a 5.8% rise on the same period last year, with crossovers and ‘dual-purpose’ vans and SUVs becoming the next most popular category, making up 14.9% of the market. Sports and luxury saloons were the only segments to experience declines, falling 1.8% and 2.5% respectively.