Electric car prices zapped, says consumer magazine
By Simon Hacker | 24th November 2023
Known for their fast and hushed acceleration, electric cars have recently been quietly delivering an even faster statistic: a report from What Car? magazine reveals discounts on new EV sales are outpacing retail deals on traditional diesel and petrol cars to the tune of 323%.
Despite the industry's move apace towards electrification of product, the findings from the auto magazine suggest inertia around new EV retailing has forced price drops which average nearly £4,400 on significant popular options.
Regular reports on the success of EV models against fossil-fuel cars suggests the demand is underpinned by business and fleet demand. Earlier this month, Fleet News reported that while 37.6% of October's new car registrations were EVs, three in every four sales went into the hands of fleet managers and business drivers. Across the entire new-car market, non-private purchasing of all types of cars actually accounted for 59% of the market share.
It might be an easy conclusion that an apparent apathy among private car buyers for battery-driven options is triggering this new surge in discounting. Punchline-Gloucester.com has already reported on a charging infrastructure that struggles to match yesterday's demand, let along today's, and entire parts of the county map remain woefully under-resourced.
In its own analysis, What Car? magazine said: "it's down to a number of reasons, including the upcoming ZEV Mandate and a low uptake of EVs (electric vehicles) among private buyers."
The magazine also cited favourable tax rules for business drivers, while its monitoring of PCP finance deals showed monthly payments on EV models dropped by an average of 16% from November 2022 to last month.
The ZEV ruling will kick in next year and will force car makers to ensure that 22% of their sales are EVs, the hurdle being the first in a series of rising percentages in ensuing years, with a rumour that the mandate will rise to 84% by 2032.
However, today's discount spike may also be attributable to events in the rear-view mirror.
As Ian Robertson, editor of Diesel&EcoCar magazine, points out, the auto industry is only just emerging from a tailspin induced by the world shortage of semiconductors.
Mr Robertson said: "As production delays reduce and semiconductor shortages ease, car makers are returning to building cars for stock, rather than for customer orders - consequently, we will now see sizeable incentives returning to the retail marketplace."
Analysis from the magazine also also suggests, he added, the return of pre-registrations of cars, with dealers "making use of generous discounts to shift unsold cars from their forecourts".
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