February plug-in sales grow by nearly 50% despite overall sales falling

February plug-in sales grow by nearly 50% despite overall sales falling


New figures released today by the SMMT for February 2021 show that electric vehicle (EV) sales have enjoyed another great month. Overall, 13% of all new UK car sales in February had a plug – up from 5.7% in February 2020.

Despite overall car sales in February 2021 decreasing by 35.5% compared with the same period last year, 2021 continues to be a strong year for EV sales.

February saw a 40.2% year-on-year increase in sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and a 52.1% increase in plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV). In contrast, sales of diesel and petrol vehicles fell significantly by 61.0% and 44.5% respectively.

february plug sales grow 50

As you can see above, February 2021 saw another 6,647 new EV registrations recorded in the UK – 3,516 BEVs and 3,131 PHEVs – meaning that registrations of electric vehicles continue to rise in absolute numbers. (In comparison, 2,508 BEVs and 2,058 PHEVs were sold in February 2020, totalling 4,566 new EV registrations.)

This takes the cumulative total of plug-in vehicles on UK roads – as of the end of February 2021 – to over 455,000 (approx. 215,000 BEVs and 240,000 PHEVs).

february plug sales grow 50

The graph above shows that February 2021 was another strong month for plug-in vehicle sales. EVs made up 13% of overall vehicle sales, meaning they now represent 13.4% of market share in 2021 so far.

Over the past few years, the majority of new registrations have come from PHEVs, but in 2020 – due to longer range and greater model choice available among BEVs – this has now reversed, with pure EVs leading on monthly sales and annual market share. Pure electrics still just about hold the lead, with 6.9% market share year to date, over PHEVs’ 6.5%.

With increasing consumer demand, greater availability of vehicles and government support, sales of electric vehicles are growing strongly in parallel to the development of the UK charging point infrastructure. See Instavolt’s new rapid charging hub on the M6 as a case in point.

In contrast, we are seeing a marked decline in demand for traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines. This is most noticeable in diesel vehicles, whose year-on-year decrease of 61.0% is particularly remarkable.