Fears are growing over a shortage of charging points after Tesla price cuts helped propel UK electric car sales to a new record last month.

Battery car sales were 19% higher in March than a year earlier, with an unprecedented 46,626 vehicles sold.

Tesla’s Model Y topped the sales chart, beating all petrol and diesel rivals with sales of 8,123, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

However, the Telegraph says experts are concerned that the number of chargers installed across Britain is failing to keep pace with the sales surge.

Figures released in February by the SMMT showed that just one new public charger was built for every 53 electric cars sold last year, putting the adoption of the green vehicles under strain.

There were around 37,000 public chargers across the country at the start of 2023, according to official statistics.

280,000 chargers needed

The Committee on Climate Change has suggested that 280,000 chargers will be required to meet demand in 2030, when the sale of new non-hybrid petrol and diesel cars is set to be outlawed.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “The best month ever for zero-emission vehicles is reflective of increased consumer choice and improved availability, but if EV market ambitions – and regulation – are to be met, infrastructure investment must catch up.”

Tesla cut prices for the Model Y by up to £8,000 earlier in the year in the face of slowing sales.

So far, competitors such Volkswagen and Kia have resisted large price decreases for their electric vehicles.

Overall new car sales, including petrol and diesel models, rose 18% in the month compared to a year ago, in a sign that supply challenges for the industry are easing.

In spite of this, with 287,825 sales, the numbers were still below the last pre-pandemic figure from March 2019, when about 450,000 cars were sold.


The SMMT said that, despite Government targets for increased electric-vehicle sales, consumers still need more confidence they will not run out of power on the road.

It said: “Models are coming to market in greater numbers, but consumers will only make the switch if they have the confidence they can charge whenever and wherever they need.

“Success of the mandate, therefore, will be dependent not just on product availability but on infrastructure providers investing in the public charging network across the UK.”

The SMMT expects battery-powered cars and hybrid plug-ins to reach one in four sales this year and almost one in three next year.

It urged the Government to introduce charger-installation targets to provide certainty for drivers switching to electric vehicles.

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