Tesla’s Model 3 has taken the UK electric car market by storm, with more than 5,300 units registered in Q3 2019. The pure-electric saloon outsold the following four best-sellers combined for the three months covering July to September according to recently updated Department for Transport (DfT) figures. It has also shot into first place in the year’s sales charts, despite having only been on sale for a fraction of that time.
Analysis by Zap-Map’s sister site Next Green Car shows the extent of the Tesla Model 3’s success in the graphs below. Now that deliveries of the Model 3 have fully come on stream in the UK, Tesla’s most accessible model is only likely to continue that trend for the foreseeable future. Although the cheapest model in Tesla’s range, buyers opted for the most-expensive specification – the Model 3 Performance – most out of the three available trim levels.
The Performance version has taken 42% of Model 3 registrations to the end of September 2019, while the entry-level Model 3 Standard Range + has accounted for a third of sales, leaving the Long Range model with 25% of the mix.
Having only had 173 Model 3 units registered in Q2 2019 – deliveries only really started towards the quarter – Tesla has shifted huge numbers of the premium electric saloon since. With 5,311 units registered according to DfT data, it made the second best-selling electric vehicle in Q3 2019 VW’s e-Golf. Volkswagen shifted almost 1,200 units, putting the electric Golf just ahead of the ever popular Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The Mitsubishi sits in third place for Q3 2019, with 1,177 registered during that time.
Rounding out Q3’s best-sellers are the BMW i3 – now predominantly pure-EV registrations since i3 REX models have been phased out. With 1,135 registrations, it sits ahead of the Nissan Leaf’s 1,118 registrations, and Jaguar’s I-Pace with 1,057.
The Mini Countryman Cooper S E, BMW 330e, and BMW 530e come in ahead of the Range Rover Sport P400e, LEVC TX range-extended taxi, and Renault Zoe. It’s worth remembering with the BMW models and the Zoe that these are end of run versions, with updated models released since the end of Q3 2019. These are likely to start appearing in the next set of figures for the BMW PHEVs, and in Q1 2020’s results for the Renault.
It’s encouraging to see that pure-electric models have taken many of the top places in Q3. The Model 3, e-Golf, Leaf and I-Pace show plenty of blue on the left of the above table. The BMW i3’s figures are largely pure-electric too, with only 53 of the i3’s quarterly figures made up of i3 REX models.
A similar picture is painted for 2019 to date, with all of Tesla’s Model 3 figures accounted for since the start of the year. It leads the table for the first nine months of 2019, and it seems exceptionally unlikely that it will be replaced when the next set of statistics for 2019 as a whole are released in March next year.
The other models remain, though in a different order. The Outlander PHEV is in second place for the year with more than 4,600 registrations, BMW’s i3 with over 3,000 units, the Jaguar I-Pace with almost 2,900 registrations, and the Mini Countryman Cooper S E just 11 units behind the I-Pace with 2,863 registrations.
It’s still a little early for the Model 3 to have an impact on the UK’s total plug-in sales charts, where the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV retains its significant lead. In fact it’s stretching the gap between it and the Nissan Leaf in second place – but only just. Mitsubishi has seen 43,616 Outlander PHEVs registered to the end of Q3 2019, compared to the 26,766 Nissan Leaf models registered, increasing the lead by almost 60 units compared to Q2’s figures.
The BMW i3 retains third place, ahead of the BMW 330e and BMW 530e, with around 15,000, 14,000 and 11,000 registrations respectively. The Mercedes Benz C 350e comes in ahead of the Renault Zoe, Tesla’s Model S, the VW Golf GTE, and Mini’s Countryman Cooper S E for the top cumulative registrations.
The Model 3 misses out on the top 10 total UK electric vehicle sales then, but only just. Having had registrations for just over three months of the figures available – which go back to the start of 2012 – it sits in 11th place overall, and has already overtaken UK sales of the Tesla Model X, which has been on sale since Q4 2019.
Newer pure-electric entrants include the MG ZS EV and Mercedes Benz EQC, which only became available towards the end of Q3 2019. As such, we expect Q4’s registrations to significantly improve on the 66 MG models and 47 EQCs registered so far.
Relative growth naturally saw a big increase for the Model 3, up more than 3000% compared to the Q2 2019. PHEVs such as BMW’s 745e saw a 120% increase between the two sets of statistics, and sales of the Mercedes Benz E 300 de increased by 87%. The pure-electric Audi e-tron showed growth of 78%. All of these are new models for the quarter – with only a handful of sales accounted for in Q2 – picking up registrations quickly as deliveries come on song.
Looking at key EVs, the I-Pace and Kia e-Niro saw growth of 40% and 38% respectively, for the relatively recently launched but more established models, and the Hyundai Kona Electric sold more than 25% more units in Q3 than Q2 2019.
Although a relatively quiet quarter for the UK’s best-selling pure-electric car – the Nissan Leaf – it remains a vitally important car in the market. It’s the second-best selling plug-in car overall, and still accounts for almost a third of all pure-electric cars on the road in the UK. Renault’s Zoe and Tesla’s Model S account for 12% and 11% respectively, while the BMW i3 accounts for 8%. Despite its newcomer status, such is the success of the Model 3 that it still accounts for almost 7% of all pure-EVs on the road.
Combined sales see BMW retain top manufacturer status. The German manufacturer has sold almost 49,500 plug-in models in the UK to the end of Q3 2019, with seven different badges covered in the statistics – and more due in the next six months or so. Mitsubishi and Nissan remain in second and third place respectively, based almost entirely off the back of the success of the Outlander PHEV and Leaf.
Tesla has climbed to the fourth most successful manufacturer in the UK for electric vehicle registrations. There are now almost 19,500 Tesla models on UK roads according to Q3’s figures. It sees Tesla climb above Volkswagen in fifth, with more than 15,700 units covered by the two pure-electric hatchbacks – the e-up! and e-Golf – and GTE models available in the Golf and Passat ranges. The e-Golf’s success in Q3 2019 is largely down to extremely competitive pricing, as VW looks set to phase the electric Golf out before the ID.3 becomes available in 2020.
Electric vehicle registrations are reflecting those seen in the monthly SMMT figures. Pure-electric sales are increasing quicker than PHEV registrations, as visible in the below table. Having seen PHEVs see a peak plug-in market share of 75% in Q2 2017, the balance has slowly been redressing itself, though the gap between the two technology types has been deducing quickly in recent results. It now sees total PHEV registrations account for 64% of the mix.
High level figures from the DfT show that more than 232,500 plug-in cars (and plug-in vans that share a car-based variant) have been registered to the end of Q3 2019. Of these, more than 149,500 are PHEVs, almost 82,900 are pure-electric, and 160 are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.