Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV stretches UK electric vehicle market lead

Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV remains the best-selling electric vehicle in the UK, and tops the 2019 figures too despite being pushed hard by BMW's 530e.

According to the latest figures from the Department for Transport (DfT), Q1 2019 saw 1,602 Outlander PHEVs registered, compared to 1,550 BMW 530e registrations in the first three months of the year.

In third place was BMW's i3 - the combined figure for pure-electric, REX, i3, & i3s - with almost 1,000 units sold in Q1 2019. Three pure-electric models in the shape of the Jaguar I-Pace, Nissan Leaf, and Renault Zoe took positions 4-6 in the table, followed by PHEVs from the Mini Countryman Cooper S E, Range Rover Sport P400e, and Range Rover P400e rounding out the top 10.

Best-selling EVs Q1 2019

Looking at total sales, the 40,590 Outlander PHEVs on the road continues the SUVs long-running reign as the best-selling plug-in model in the UK. It's a run that has stretched back four years to Q1 2015, the first set of figures from the DfT showing the Mitsubishi had overtaken the previous incumbent - Nissan's Leaf.

The Leaf continues in second spot overall, and the best-selling pure-electric model in the list, with 25,491 registrations by the end of March 2019. The DfT's figures are always published a quarter behind where we are currently, so remain the latest set of figures open to evaluation.

BMW's 330e remains in third spot with more than 13,700 units, ahead of the i3 on almost 13,000 registrations, and the Mercedes Benz C 350e with more than 10,000 on the road.

Fast movers in the sales table include the BMW 530e, which having only started seeing sales registered in Q1 2017, is now positioned in 7th spot outright just two years later on almost 9,750 units. Mini's Countryman Cooper S E has also climbed quickly, in 11th place in the table with more than 3,800 units, despite no figures for it from the DfT until Q2 2017.

Jaguar's I-Pace has sold almost 1,700 units by the end of Q1 2019, despite only seeing three models registered in Q1 2018 - its first appearance on the table. JLR stablemate, the Range Rover P400e has identical sales figures, having only been on sale from Q4 2017.

The identically powered Range Rover Sport is less than 20 units behind its larger Land Rover sibling, having gone on sale at the same time, with the two PHEVs split only by the VW e-Golf, which is one unit behind the I-Pace and Range Rover P400e on 1,679. It has been on sale since Q3 2014 though.

The range-extended LEVC TX black cab continues to perform strongly in a short space of time, with almost 1,550 registered since Q4 2017, and unsurprisingly, Hyundai's Kona Electric has almost 450 registrations, having only seen its first units appear in Q3 2018's figures.

Best-selling EVs to date Q1 2019

Looking forward, Audi's e-tron pure-electric SUV sold 63 units in Q1 2019, despite not having been on sale for the whole three months, so it will be interesting to see how well that does in the next quarter's figures. The Kia e-Niro will likely have a few units on its figures too, and the Kona Electric & I-Pace are expected to continue their rapid growth.

At a manufacturer level, BMW leads the way, with almost 46,000 units, a combined total from a large number of vehicles - the 225xe, 330e, 530e, 740e, i3, i8, and X5 40e. By contrast, Mitsubishi is in second place with more than 40,500 units, predominantly thanks to the Outlander PHEV and a couple of hundred i-MiEVs.

Top EV manufacturers in UK Q1 2019

Third is Nissan, just shy of 29,000 units thanks mainly to the Leaf, though with almost 3,500 e-NV200's supporting that figure. VW is in fourth with a mixture of models - e-Golf, e-up!, Golf GTE, and Passat GTE - followed by Tesla's all-electric line-up of Model S and Model X - plus a few Roadsters for good measure. It's worth remembering that Tesla's Model 3 has only just arrived in the UK, and therefore won't appear in any significant number until Q3 2019's figures.

Looking at manufacturing groups, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is dominant in the UK market in terms of electric cars, with more than 79,500 units built up primarily from the Outlander PHEV, Leaf, and Renault Zoe. The BMW Group is second on a little under 50,000 units, with Mini's Countryman Cooper S E added to those sales from BMW, and the VW Group is third on over 20,000 units, adding in Audi and Porsche figures to VW's sales.

In total, there are just over 200,000 electric vehicles on the DfT's Q1 2019 figures, of which 68% are PHEVs and 32% pure-EVs. Almost 120 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are included in the total.

EV-PHEV split Q1 2019

Find out more about electric car market statistics

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:8th Jul 2019

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