Best-selling plug-in cars in the UK revealed

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV remains the UK's best-selling plug-in car and the Nissan LEAF the most popular pure-electric model, according to official figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) to the end of September 2017.

Mitsubishi's SUV has sold almost 31,000 units to the end of the last quarter, with figures released three months behind the period finishes. Nissan's LEAF is just short of 19,000 sales, but was the best-selling plug-in model over for Q3.

In the three months from from July to September, the LEAF sold almost 1,600 units, compared to the Outlander PHEVs 1,353 sales. The BMW 330e splits the two models though, with 1,363 units sold during the same period. Executive PHEVs round out the rest of the Top 5 with the Mercedes C 350e and BMW 530e fourth and fifth respectively in terms of Q3 sales.

The Outlander PHEV retains the lead for the best-selling electric vehicle for 2017 to date though. With three quarters of the year gone, its 5,314 sales are more than 1,000 units ahead of the LEAF in second place. The 330e and C 350e sit at almost 4,000 and just above 3,000 units respectively, and the BMW i3 rounds out the Top 5 for 2017 to date, with around 2,500 sales.

Although executive PHEVs from BMW and Mercedes in particular are begining to challenge the plug-in status quo, the Outlander PHEV and LEAF still dominate the market. The two models make up more than 41% of the UK's plug-in car market between them, and the LEAF is almost 10,000 units ahead of the Mercedes C 350e in third place overall - with the Outlander PHEV a further 12,000 sales or so further on again.

Unsurprisingly Mitsubishi leads the manufacturer sales charts with a little over 31,000 sales, with the i-MiEV contributing 261 units to the Outlander PHEVs runaway success. The strength of that single model is still enough to hold rival manufacturers at bay, though for how long will be interesting to see.

BMW has overtaken Nissan in the last three months as the second largest plug-in car manufacturer in the UK, mainly through having a large portfolio of electric cars, with the 330e and i3 selling particularly strongly. Sales to the end of September were just a few dozen off the 22,000 unit mark, increasing more than 3,300 during Q3.

Nissan by contrast were able to add almost 1,850 to their end-of-Q3 sales of around 21,500, seeing the Japanese manufacturer drop into third place. Mercedes and Tesla round out the Top 5 in terms of manufacturer sales with almost 10,800 and almost 8,000 units respectively.

The highest selling manufacturer of 2017 though is BMW, by a large margin. The German giant has sold more than 9,000 plug-in cars since the beginning of 2017, well ahead of Mitsubishi's more than 5,300 units over the same time frame. Nissan sits in third place, ahead of Mercedes and Tesla in fourth and fifth respectively

Because of Renault and Nissan's purchase of Mitsubishi earlier this year, the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance not surprisingly dominates the UK plug-in car market. With models like the Outlander PHEV, LEAF, and Zoe on its books, the group has sold more than 59,000 plug-in cars in the UK to date. The BMW Group - including BMW and Mini - is on more than 22,000 units in second place, with the Daimler Group - including Mercedes Benz and Smart - in third with almost 22,000 sales.

The top 10 best-selling plug-in cars are:

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Nissan Leaf
Mercedes Benz C 350e
BMW i3
BMW 330e
Tesla Model S
Renault Zoe
VW Golf GTE
Volvo XC90 TwinEngine
Audi A3 e-tron

UK's best selling electric cars

New entrants in the latest set of figures include the Volvo S90 T8, Kia's Niro PHEV, and the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV.

Find more electric vehicle market statistics here

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:18th Dec 2017

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