UK pure-EV sales on the up despite overall market decline

UK pure-EV sales on the up despite overall market decline

Sales of pure-electric vehicles continued to rise in April 2019, despite the UK car market as a whole down 4% on the previous year.

Pure-EVs were up more than 63%, with 1,517 registrations in April, though plug-in hybrid vehicles didn't fare as well. PHEV registrations were down more than a third compared to 2018, with almost 2,000 units sold.

EV registration figures April 2019

The downward trend for PHEV registrations has been going on since the start of 2019 - barring a slight lift in February. With the effective removal of the Plug-in Car Grant for PHEVs from October 2018, it looks as though the support may have been withdrawn too soon for the market.

Although hoped that the PHEV market was performing strongly and capable of standing up despite the withdrawal of the grant, a combination of an uncertain UK car market in general, plus no company car BIK rates beyond the next financial year, look to have made the sector a little shaky.

The corresponding upturn in EV sales is to be welcomed, and the past two month's figures have seen the EV/PHEV market split at around 44% against 56% respectively. To compare, in August last year, the split was 17:83.

The combined electric vehicle market was down 11% compared to last year, unusually worse off than the overall UK car market. Registration of EVs have usually bucked the trend in recent months, with growth despite an overall dip in sales.

SMMT registrations April 2019

Table courtesy of SMMT

One of the key choke-points in electric vehicles hitting UK roads is not the lack of demand, if feedback to NGC is anything to go by, rather it is a lack of vehicles. The demand far outstrips supply for a number of the best EVs available, so the future is not bleak as manufacturers up the number of plug-in models leaving the production line.

Likewise, new models are coming along all the time, with the Kia e-Niro going on sale for last month's registration figures, the Audi e-tron set to be included in the next set of results, plus new mass-market models from the likes of VW, Kia, Mini, and Honda all due within the 9-12 months.

Diesel sales continue to perform poorly, down to less than 30% of market share, and -9% against an already troublesome 2018 figure. Petrol sales continue to rise and are approaching 65% of market share, while alternatively fuelled vehicles - which bundle together EVs, PHEVs, and hybrids - increased to 6.4% market share for April 2019.

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:7th May 2019

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