Plug-In Electric Car Sales In UK End Year At 3.8% Market Share


The year 2018 was positive. In 2019, a lot will depend on new models

December brought a slight increase of plug-in electric cars sales in the UK to 5,498 (up 19% year-over-year), but as the overall market decreased 5.5%, market share hit the 2nd best result ever – 3.8%.

  • 1,534 BEVs (up 59% year-over-year)
  • 3,964 PHEVs (up 9% year-over-year)

Lower incentives for all-electric and no more Plug-In Car Grant for plug-in hybrids so far didn’t reverse the rising trend.

The year 2018 was a record for plug-in car sales in the UK as 59,911 new registrations were noted (up by 21.8%) at an average market share of 2.53% (overall market share decreased by 6.8%).

  • 15,474 BEVs (up 14% year-over-year)
  • 44,437 PHEVs (up 25% year-over-year)

Plug-in Electric Car Registrations in UK – December 2018

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) notes that despite record results, growth of plug-ins is falling behind EU average and that sales are not enough to offset the significant drop od diesel cars by almost 30% (market share decreased within a year from 42.0% to 31.7%).

In the AFV sector, petrol electric hybrids remained the most popular choice, up +21.3% to 81,156 units. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) also recorded a strong uplift (+24.9%) over the year, though the figures suggest growth is slowing following the removal of the Government’s plug-in car grant for these vehicles in October.

Demand for PHEVs grew almost 30% in the first 10 months, but year on year increases fell to 3.1% and 8.7% in November and December respectively. Pure electric cars, meanwhile, grew 13.8% in the year but, with just 15,474 registered, they still make up only 0.7% of the market. Given the reduction in government incentives, the pace of growth of plug-in cars is now falling significantly behind the EU average.2

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7 Comments on "Plug-In Electric Car Sales In UK End Year At 3.8% Market Share"

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“In the AFV sector, petrol electric hybrids remained the most popular choice, up +21.3% to 81,156 units.” This is such a problematic statement. Petrol electric hybrids are fuelled by petrol, they are not an alternatively fuelled vehicle.

Exactly. They are just slightly more efficient petrol cars, nothing more. The government has colluded with the manufacturers to mislead people into thinking there is something special or magical about hybrid technology, rather than it just being a way to get a few more mpg out of an ICE. It was the same thinking that led to diesel gate, promoting a very unambitious cut in CO2 emissions that would cause minimal disruption to the manufacturers and fossil fuel industries, rather than moving away from FF altogether.

Every little bit helps though. Also the hybrid basically brought back the electric car, so it’s really hard to dislike the technology. It’s not the ultimate future technology, but let’s be honest: we’d be dramatically better off if every car was a hybrid as opposed to the current status quo.

Switzerland 2018 / 2017:

BEV: 1.7% / 1.5%
Hybrid: 5.1% / 3.8%
Diesel: 30% / 36%

Diesel keeps decreasing very fast every year 🙂
Sadly the BEV growth is dissapointing.

But M3 seems to be very popular, so this will hopefully change in 2019.

You have to remember that the UK is very conservative when it comes to cars so it might be a harder market to crack for EVs. Buyers in the market for luxury cars are much more likely to choose German dead dinosaur mobiles than Teslas than other markets. Despite having an awkward road network and unusual amount of stop start traffic, the British favour manual transmission ICE because that is what their parents bought, because that’s what their grandparents bought as it was all that was available in 1948.

Europe in general favors manuals. I think there’s a bit more to it than what you are saying. Also consider that until the last decade manual transmissions we’re typically more efficient than automatics.

Anyway I don’t think the transmission is really a huge barrier for these countries switching to EVs.

I think it shows general conservatism and is a symptom of lack of willingness to change, which is relevant to the ICE to BEV transition.