A bevy of new electric vehicle figures published in the opening days of June have highlighted the increasing popularity of EVs in the United Kingdom and revealed that the Tesla Model 3 has become the most popular battery electric vehicle on British roads thanks to a recent surge in sales.
According to a recent article published by The Guardian , quoting figures compiled by independent EV analyst Matthias Schmidt, there are now 39,000 Tesla Model 3s in the UK, surpassing the 38,900 Nissan Leafs.
According to Schmidt’s figures, the Model 3 remained “slightly” behind the UK’s most popular plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander, but this is expected to quickly change and see Tesla’s flagship Model 3 become the most popular UK car “that can recharge from a plug.”
But it’s not just Tesla that is benefiting from an increasing growth in EV interest, as electric vehicles en masse continue to enjoy their time in the sun.
According to British transport research thinktank New AutoMotive, electric vehicle sales grew from 2,224 in May 2020 to 11,769 in May 2021, an increase of over 500%. In fact, 1 in 5 cars sold in May 2021 was a hybrid, though the share of vehicles that are fully electric fell slightly.
Worth noting, of course, is that moving forward, all year-on-year metrics will be thrown out of whack by 2020 and the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
According to New AutoMotive, the shrinking share of fully electric vehicles likely reflects “the fact that the UK car market had been distorted by lockdown measures in 2020, which disproportionately depressed sales of petrol and diesel cars in that month.”
Further, New AutoMotive concluded from their “May 2021 New Car Registrations” figures that sales of “new electric cars are growing fastest in North East England and Oxfordshire, while nationally sales of diesel cars continue to collapse.”
“Across the UK demand for electric cars continues to grow, with the most significant surge in sales happening in the North East,” said Ben Nelmes, Head of Policy and Research at New AutoMotive. “Polluting diesel car sales continue to decline, and in London and Newcastle there are now more new electric cars sold each month than new diesel vehicles.”
“Electric cars are being embraced across the UK – more and more drivers are discovering the benefits of cheaper running costs, convenient home charging and a better experience behind the wheel. All while doing their bit for the planet.”
“There is no denying that the switch to electric is well under way. Now we need local councils to ensure that charging infrastructure is in place as Brits ditch petrol and diesel guzzlers for clean electric.”
The 2020 COVID distortion was also reflected in data published by UK car lobby group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Specifically, according to SMMT’s figures, 156,737 new cars were registered in May, a year-on-year increase of 674.1%.
Nevertheless, SMMT’s May 2021 figures also show that the UK’s plug-in vehicle market (BEVs and PHEVs) continued to rise, and accounts for 13.8% of all new registrations so far in 2021, up from 7.2% a year earlier.
Unfortunately, fully electric BEVs saw a decline in their total May market share, falling from 12% in May of 2020 to 8.4% in May 2021.
However, worth noting again is the fact, according to SMMT, that “the May 2020 performance was distorted by lockdowns when new cars could only be purchased through click and collect or delivery, giving rise to variable purchasing patterns.”