December’s new car sales figures, released by the SMMT today, show that there was another excellent month for EV (electric vehicle) sales and completing a year of high growth for EVs in 2020. Close to a quarter of all December car registrations were EVs with with a 16.5% share for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 6.9% for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV).
In total, another 31,022 new EV registrations were recorded in December 2020 (21,914 BEVs and 9,108 PHEVs), taking the UK cumulative total to close to 440,000 plug-in vehicles on UK roads (approx. 206,000 BEVs and 234,000 PHEVs).
This means that 2020, despite the coronavirus impact, has shown an impressive growth rate of 66% over 2019. Key models at the top of the sales charts for 2020 to date include the Tesla Model 3 and VW ID.3, both of which were in the Top 10 model list for December 2020.
Taken as a whole, the year of 2020 has taken the number of EVs as a proportion of all new vehicles to a new high. In 2015 just 1.1% of vehicles registered had a plug compared to 3.2% in 2019; by the end of 2020, this figure has accelerated to 10.7% as an average for the year (6.6% BEV and 4.1% PHEV). These numbers reflect both the increase in demand for electric vehicles and the decline in demand for traditional, particularly diesel, vehicles.
Melanie Shufflebotham, Co-founder and COO of Zap-Map commented:“This new data shows the shift to clean cars is in full swing. Britain stands on the cusp of an electric vehicle revolution – there are more electric models rolling off the factory line than ever and costs have come down significantly. We expect this trend to continue as investment pours into the market and new infrastructure comes online. The number of charging points has doubled in the past two years alone, meaning drivers have more choice and confidence when making the switch.”
Over the past few years the majority of the new registrations were PHEVs, but in 2020 with longer range and greater model choice available as BEVs, this has now reversed with pure EVs leading on monthly sales and annual market share.
A recent poll by Zap-Map shows that there is a high-level of satisfaction with EVs, with only 1% of EV drivers saying they would return to a petrol or diesel vehicle.
This trend is forecast to strengthen as battery prices continue to fall and the regulatory costs associated with engine production (as used by PHEVs) rise. Bloomberg predicts that pure EVs will be cheaper to manufactures than conventional vehicles by 2023, meaning that plug-in EVs sales are likely to give way to fully electric models in the longer term.