12.4.2018Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Nissan Leaf stretch market lead
Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV continues its reign as the UK's best-selling plug-in vehicle, as figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) today (Thursday 12th April) show almost 32,000 models were registered by the end of 2017.
Following the Outlander PHEV in second place is the Nissan Leaf - the UK's most popular pure-electric vehicle, with almost 20,000 of the hatchback EV sold by the end of December last year.
Following the Mitsubishi and Nissan are the BMW 330e and BMW i3 - both on a little over 9,000 units - the Mercedes Benz C 350e, Tesla Model S, Renault Zoe, VW Golf GTE, Volvo XC90, and Audi A3 rounding out the top 10 electric car sales. Nissan's e-NV200 has shifted more units than the Audi PHEV, though the majority of these have been as van sales.
Looking at 2017 rather than overall sales, the Outlander PHEV tops that chart too, with more than 6,300 sales over the 12 months. In second place though is BMW's 330e with almost 5,700 sales in 2017, ahead of the Nissan Leaf on a little under 5,000 registrations. The Leaf perhaps suffered from having a new, larger battery model announced as due, but the Leaf 40kWh model will have seen few sales if any in 2017.
BMW's i3, now available in four variants - EV and REX as either i3 or i3s - was in fourth position for 2017 registrations, ahead of the Mercedes Benz C 350e on a little shy of 3,000 units. The Tesla Model S and VW Golf GTE, follow the Mercedes in the 2017 best-sellers list, also featuring in the overall statistics. However, 2017 has seen strong sales for the Tesla Model X and BMW 530e - each ahead of Volvo's XC90 in the annual count.
The DfT's registration figures are always at least three months behind the current state of play, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) gives more regular updates on a monthly basis.
However, SMMT figures deal only in the number of plug-in models registered each month, rather than on a model-by-model breakdown. With the additional data of make and model registrations by quarter, we are able to discover how the companies are doing rather than just the plug-in car market.
As such, we can see that the runaway success of the Outlander PHEV contributes to Mitsubishi being the number one plug-in manufacturer in the UK, with only around 250 of its outright 32,000 sales made up of the all-electric i-MiEV.
BMW is in second place in the UK's plug-in manufacturers league, with more than 25,500 sales until the end of 2017. Considering the number of BMW models available as a plug-in variant, this is not too surprising. Nissan - again largely on the back of the Leaf - is in third place, followed by Mercedes Benz, Tesla, and VW.
Looking at manufacturing groups, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance dominates the UK's plug-in car market, with the Outlander PHEV, Leaf, and Zoe - plus other models - all selling well. As such, the group's UK plug-in market share is more than 55%. The BMW Group - which includes Mini, is in second place with around a quarter of the UK's plug-in car sales, while the breadth of offerings from the VW Group - VW, Audi, and Porsche - put the manufacturing giant third.
Daimler - composed of Mercedes Benz and Smart in this instance - is in third place with around 11,000 units registered, followed by Tesla, Volvo, Toyota, and Hyundai-Kia.
The UK continues to prefer plug-in hybrids to pure-electric models judging by sales. The last time EVs were ahead of PHEVs in quarterly UK sales was at the end of 2014. Since then PHEVs have outstripped EV sales by some margin, now representing more than two out of every three plug-in car sales.