sales of electric vehicles soaring in uk

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that the sales of electric cars rose by 158% in July 2019 compared to sales in July last year.

It presented a total of 2,271 battery-driven electric cars registered across the country for that single month alone.

Yearly figures show a significant increase of 70.6% in sales of electric vehicles at this point in the year so far. All of these rising numbers display a growth trend for EVs throughout the overall car market, where total sales have been in decline (by 3.5%) over the same period.

Rising from 3.5k to 223k plug-in vehicles over a few short years

The statistics speak for themselves. Since 2013, the amount of electric and hybrid models on our roads speaks volumes. Given we’re still seeing this trend in its infancy, the figures are impressive and only set to grow exponentially.

  • 223k plug-in cars on the roads today
  • 8.5k plug-in vans
  • 130 different plug-in models available to buyers
  • Almost 25k UK charging points

One more impressive piece of data to drive the point home is that in 2014, there were around 500 new electric car registrations made each month. In 2018, the figure had risen to 5,000.

By the end of 2018, a record-breaking 60,000 plug-in cars had been registered in a single year, beating the 2017 figure by over 13,000 units.

The UK’s most popular EV models

You can’t point a finger to one particular type of vehicle that lends itself to the electric market better than another. The top 3 models include an SUV, a compact city car and luxury sports saloon.

  1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – 5-seater SUV
  2. Nissan Leaf – Small family compact city car
  3. BMW 330e – Executive luxury sports saloon

As you drift further down the lists of the best selling electric and hybrid models, there really isn’t a pattern emerging. Electric models are infiltrating every type of motorist, with advantages to both economy and performance.

From the smallest of city cars to high-performance models, the figures are growing. And with the Government’s continuing plans to move motorists into a greener, more environmentally sound market, it’s a market that can only continue to move in one direction.

The demand for electric cars and battery electric vehicles (BEVs)

It’s plain to see from these figures that the car driving public are embracing the new fuel technologies, despite their small share in the overall market. All-electric vehicles are still very much in the minority with only 1% of new cars sold featuring a fully electric powertrain. 

Yet indeed, demand is high. The Kia e-Niro and the Hyundai Kona Electric sold their entire allocation of vehicles for 2019 months ago. And Toyota announced that over 50% of their cars sold in Europe were either all-electric or hybrid options.

99% of Lexus’ Western European sales were hybrid vehicles

The big electric push from the Japanese giant Toyota and their luxury sister brand branch Lexus, has played a considerable part in these new figures. They sold a whopping 303k hybrid cars in the first 6 months of 2019.

It’s simple to see where they think the market is going, and they’d be right to. With such strong success with the Prius, the returns on their development of the Corolla, Yaris and RAV4 as hybrid and all-electric options are all following suit accordingly. 

Petrol-electric hybrids remain more popular than their plug-in hybrid counterparts

Sales of the petrol-electric hybrids have also shown a steady rise with a 34.2% increase over the July 2018 statistics. However, the plug-in hybrids only sold around half the number they managed last July.

The Government, however, are still pursuing a completely all-electric vehicle sales target by 2030, and are implementing their own initiatives to drive the figures.

EV’s to be more competitive than ever by 2022

The running costs of electric vehicles already speak for themselves. Upfront costs are still considered an issue with buyers as the models integrate into the mass market.

However, estimates show that as early as 2022, battery costs should drop by enough to create a significant price point difference. With that, it should drive all consumers to buy electric over traditional petrol or diesel options from the outset.

Drop in plug-in hybrid figures could well be tied to the restructuring of the Government’s plug-in car grant

The incentive offered by the Government to boost sales in low emission models reduced the discount available for electric cars from a maximum of £4.5k to £3.5k. The fact that none of the plug-in hybrid models available for sale in the current market are eligible for this discount does suggest an area that could well have affected the figures. 

Before the changes to the grant system, this type of vehicle offered new owners an incentive worth around £2.5k.

The good news for all-electric car buyers: the plug-in car grant is guaranteed until 2020

The plug-in car grant was developed by the Government to help drivers switch from petrol and diesel to the greener electric options, with a grant to help buyers with the cost when buying a new vehicle. The scheme was extended to run until at least 2020 with a boost of an additional £100million.

The grant is automatically included in the dealership price on the low-emission vehicles that are covered by the Government’s list. With the maximum amount available reaching up to £3.5k (for 35% of the purchase price), it’s a saving that many new car buyers won’t be able to resist.

To qualify, vehicles have CO2 emissions less than 50g/km and can travel at least 70 miles without any emissions at all.