Currently reading: Used electric car sales double as supply improves
Record market share for second-hand EVs as wider used market clocks third consecutive quarter of growth

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.

Jonathan Bryce

Jonathan Bryce
Title: Editorial Assistant

Jonathan is an editorial assistant working with Autocar. He has held this position since March 2024, having previously studied at the University of Glasgow before moving to London to become an editorial apprentice and pursue a career in motoring journalism. 

His role at work involves writing news stories, travelling to launch events and interviewing some of the industry's most influential executives, rewriting used car reviews and used car advice articles, updating and uploading articles for the Autocar website and making sure they are optimised for search engines, and regularly appearing on Autocar's social media channels including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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harf 9 November 2023

I'm curious to see what happens to the prices of all these very high value cars that are only being purchased because of the incredibly low tax costs that have distorted the new car market 

Our neighbour has a new plug in BMW X5 company car worth £80k!! You see quite a lot of them around, them and similarly expensive ones from other manufacturers.

Where's the incentive to buy all these when they hit the second hand market tho? They'll plummet in value, surely

405line 9 November 2023

They have just about got ULEZ sorted and yet praise vehicle sales being on the up, with policies like this, it's easy to see how the world got into this position. Got to keep the gravy train rolling, the next EV sales incentive will be to allow EV to run through LTN restrictions and use the bus lanes would be my next guess. 

Dozza 9 November 2023

An two year old Corsa EV costs half the price of a new one. Why would anyone buy new?