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Used electric car sales spike 71% as ex-company cars reach the market in big numbers

Battery power accounted for 2.1 per cent of used car sales in the first quarter of 2024, with sales up 71 per cent

Tesla Model 3 - front

Increasing numbers of used electric cars from company fleets are hitting auctions and dealers, making fully-electric powertrains the fastest growing sector of the used car market.

Overall, the UK used car market rose 6.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2024, according to latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. It’s the 16th month of successive growth, but overall the number of used cars changing hands is still a little (-2.6 per cent) below pre-pandemic levels.

According to the official numbers, a total of 41,505 electric cars entered the used market in the first three months of this year. It’s an increase of more than two thirds on the same period in 2023 that takes the overall number of used EV transactions to a still small but increasingly significant 2.1 per cent.

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This rapid increase in used EV availability appears to vindicate the government’s decision to focus tax-payer funded incentives on company drivers through big Benefit-in-Kind (company car tax) savings, as the fastest and most cost-effective way to increase the take-up of electric cars with buyers across the country. While the industry continues to call for more government spending on new car purchase subsidies, the vast majority of drivers can’t afford new cars of any type, and the government effectively ruled out the provision of new purchase incentives in its recent response to the Lords environment and climate committee report into electric cars.

Numbers of plug-in hybrids entering the used market are also growing, with sales up 42.5 per cent to 22,065. Used hybrid sales rose 49.3 per cent to 74,502, the figures show. Petrol used car sales rose 7.7 per cent to 1,130,396 vehicles, while used diesel sales fell 1.3 per cent - although diesels still accounted for a chunky 697,718 transactions.

Upper medium, executive and luxury saloon car sales were the only segments recording declines, reflecting the long-standing trend away from such vehicles towards SUVs.

Thinking of selling your car? Check out our guide on Carwow's Sell My Car...

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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