Pure EV registrations up against UK market dip

EV sales top 2017 total in October


The UK’s plug-in car market continues to buck the market trend, with growth of 32% reported for October’s registrations by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) against an industry total of -3%.

The relatively strong electric vehicle performance means that plug-in models made up 3.1% of total registrations in October, the second highest market split ever, behind only August 2018’s 4.2%.

Pure-EVs saw growth of 87% compared to October 2017, with 1,256 units registered during the month, while PHEV registrations increased 19%, made up of 3,448 registrations.

As such, despite the improved performance from pure-electric models, PHEVs still made up more than 73% of plug-in vehicle sales in October – though that’s less than last year’s 81% split, and a little behind 2018’s average of 75%.

October’s figures mean that 2018’s electric vehicle sales have now surpassed last year’s figure, with 49,802 EVs registered in 2018 to the end of last month. In comparison, the 2017 finished with 47,402 EVs sold.

Although the UK car market as a whole is clearly struggling with uncertainty over elements such as Brexit, fuel prices, and future policy on emissions, it is yet to be seen what effect the newly revised Plug-in Car Grant rates had on electric vehicle registrations in October.

Having changed halfway through the month, PHEV support was removed – increasing OTR prives by £2,500 – while the pure-electric grant was reduced by £1,000, seeing new pure-EVs now receive £3,500 off the cost of a new model.

Figures for grant-eligible models have not yet been revealed, though even when they are, we will not know at what date the registrations were made – pre- or post-changes.

As such, next month’s registration figures – the first complete month under the new grants – will be interesting to see whether pure-EVs continue to pick up compared to PHEV sales. Equally, the impact of removing the grant from PHEVs will be clearer to see whether the market is robust enough to continue growing.