Nissan Leaf is best-selling EV of 2018 so far

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV remains the UK’s best-selling electric vehicle, having topped the charts now since the beginning of 2015. However, the Nissan Leaf - second on the list and the most popular pure-electric model - has outsold the Mitsubishi both in the last quarter, and 2018 to date.

With 34,785 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs registered until the end of June 2018, the popular SUV still has a sizeable lead over the Leaf’s 22,919 registrations. These figures come from the latest data from the Department for Transport, which takes us up to the end of Q2 2018, and reports that 157,357 electric cars - pure-electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell - have been registered to the end of June.

The Leaf has benefitted from the launch of a new model in that time, with a significantly improved range available from the second-generation Leaf. As such, it sold more than 1,200 units in Q2 2018 - around 100 more than the Outlander PHEV - and is more than 300 units ahead for the year.

Mitsubishi has just launched an updated version of its Outlander PHEV though, with a larger battery and more powerful engine. As such, though registrations are expected to remain behind the Leaf’s next quarter, sales are likely to pick up again by the end of 2018.

The best selling model in Q2 2018 was actually BMW’s 530e, pipping its 330e stablemate by a handful of units, with 1,456 and 1,432 registrations respectively. The VW Golf GTE also outsold both the Leaf and Outlander PHEV during Q2 2018, completing the top five with 1,351 units.

Best-selling EVs 2018

Total sales see the 330e remain in third place behind the Mitsubishi and Nissan, and ahead of the i3 which, in all four guises - i3, i3 REX, i3s, and i3s REX - topped the 10,000 unit mark in Q2 2018 by one sale. Following the i3 is Mercedes Benz’s C 350e, the Tesla Model S, VW’s Golf GTE, the Renault Zoe, BMW’s 530e, and the Volvo XC90 T8 TwinEngine respectively, to round out the top 10.

The biggest movers in the pure-electric vehicle market include the VW e-Golf, which saw sales rise 37% between Q1 and Q2 2018, while sales of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric increased 21% during the same time. Other increases include the Smart for four ed, Kia Soul EV, and Tesla Model X, which saw sales rise between 17% and 22% depending on the model. That’s ignoring Jaguar’s I-Pace which increased more than 3,000% - moving from 3 units in Q1 to 92 registrations in Q2.

It is hoped that these increasing figures, while still relatively small, are an indication that manufacturers are starting to bring sufficient numbers of EVs to the UK to keep up with demand - or at least more so than before. T

The waiting lists for the likes of the Ioniq Electric and e-Golf have been well publicised. This, and the likes of the I-Pace and Kona Electric due to see further sales in Q3 2018 point to a more positive end of year for the pure-electric market car market.

Plug-in hybrids have been having a far better time of things recently, with bigger increases almost across the board. VW’s plug-in car office will have had a good Q2 2018, since the Golf GTE saw the biggest increase in PHEV sales for any model with reasonable sales figures to start with at a 55% increase.

Top 12 EVs - Q2 2018

Other significant rises include the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW i3, Volvo V60 T8 TwinEngine, Mercedes Benz E 350e, Volvo S90 T8 TwinEngine, Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid, and BMW 740e - all of which saw increases of between 20% and 50%.

Looking at manufacturers, Mitsubishi is still out as the leading plug-in car maker in the UK by virtue of its dominant Outlander PHEV. BMW continues to catch up though, with the large number of electric vehicles on its books meaning the German manufacturer sold almost 4,000 plug-in vehicles in Q2 2018, compared with Mitsubishi’s 1,150. VW sold more than 2,000 plug-in models in the same timeframe, Nissan sold 1,300 electric vehicles, and Tesla and Mercedes were very close during the three months, with 891 and 883 sales respectively.

Despite BMW’s significant growth in plug-in models over the last year or so the group’s figures - including BMW and Mini sales - can’t keep up with the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance. Three of the most significant electric brands are all part of the same group, and between them control more than 40% of the UK’s plug-in car market. That’s against the likes of the BMW Group, Daimler, VW Group, Geely, Hyundai Kia, Jaguar Land Rover, and Toyota.

Find out more about electric car statistics

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:14th Sep 2018

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