Despite an overall -29.4% decline in UK new car sales in 2020, registrations of electric vehicles grew significantly.
All segments of the electric vehicle market rose both in December compared with the same month in 2019 as well as overall in 2020. Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) grew by 343.7% in the last month of the year and 185.9% overall in 2020, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) grew by 103.3% in December and 91.2% over the twelve months. Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs) petrol and diesel rose by 184.1% and 79.6% respectively in 2020, and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) were up 12.1% from 2019’s levels. From January to December 2020, diesel saw a decline of -55.5% and petrol was down -39.0%.
BEVs and PHEVs combined reached a record market share of 10.1% in 2020, but SMMT highlighted how the majority of these registrations (68%) were for company cars, indicating ‘room for further growth’ as well as the need for private buyers to continue to be supported by incentives and investment in charging infrastructure. Positively, there are now ‘more than 100 plug-in car models’ available to UK buyers, with more than 35 expected to enter the market this year.
Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, commented on the sales figures: “Given the significant and unexpected challenges that faced the automotive sector and the whole economy in 2020, particularly the pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it is unsurprising that new car sales declined.
She added on EVs: “It is encouraging that despite the issues affecting the automotive industry and the economy, the EV market continued to grow, showing an increase in consumer appetite and rewarding the efforts dealers are making to meet the demand.