UK plug-in car market remains buoyant as diesel malaise continues

The UK's plug-in car market saw continued strong performance in October, accounting for 2.2% of total registrations - in sharp contrast to the diesel's sales dropping 30% according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures.

Pure electric car (EV) registrations of 672 units increased more than 70% compared to October 2016, while plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations increased almost 47%. Combined plug-in car registrations increased 51% in October compared to 2016's figures.

Total new car registrations decreased 12% compared to last year, though all of that decline is because of the lack of buyer confidence in diesel. Diesel sales decreased 29.9% in October, a malaise that has affected the few diesel-hybrid models on sale too, as they fell almost 50% compared to last year. Diesel-hybrids only accounted for 64 units though, compared to conventional diesel's 62,349 registrations.

All other categories - petrol, petrol-hybrid, EV and PHEV - increased sales a little, though not enough to fill all of the void coming from diesel's decline.

SMMT October AFV registrations 2017

Table courtesy of SMMT

October's EV registrations as a proportion of plug-in models were weaker than in recent months, with this year being the first time since October 2016 that the ratio dropped below 20%. The past three months have hovered around 25% of the plug-in mix, but the 19.6% ratio is still a little better than last year's 17.5%.

October also saw an increase in the ratio of non-Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) eligible vehicles registered, with 6% of the month's electric vehicles registered not meeting the grant criteria. This tends to be on grounds of exceeding the £60,000 price cap rather than because of restrictions to range or emissions levels. Last month's ratio was 4% of plug-in registrations, and the average 2017 to date is 5%.

Registrations for 2017 remain on track to have the best market share ever, with both the year to date and 12-month rolling average market share at 1.7%. October's figures also saw the total number of plug-in cars sold beat 2016's total, with two months still to go of 2017.

Find more EV market stats here

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:7th Nov 2017

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