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Tesla Model 3 reigns supreme in latest EV sales charts

The Tesla Model 3 has proven a runaway success in the EV market, topping the 2019 plug-in sales charts with more than 10,500 units sold.

According to the latest Department for Transport (DfT) statistics published today (Thursday 30th April) the Model 3 has a lead of almost 5,000 units over the second place model for 2019 - Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV.

EV sales 2019

The Model 3's sales figures for the year are all the more remarkable considering it has only really been on sale since the middle of 2019. There were no Tesla Model 3 registrations in Q1 2019, and only 173 sold in Q2, as the model arrived in the UK right at the end of the first half of the year.

However, with more than 5,300 sold in Q3, adding to Q4's figures of 5,088, the Tesla Model 3 has taken the electric car market by storm, and now sits in 6th place in the total EV sales charts, having only been on sale a little over six months (for available statistics).

Looking at how those sales are made up, the Model 3 Performance is just ahead of the Standard Range + version - by around 60 units. These both make up 36% of Model 3 sales, and the Long Range the final 28%.

Following the Model 3 in 2019 are Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV (5,568), which came out ahead of the BMW i3 (4,127), BMW 330e (4,037), and Jaguar I-Pace (3,949) for the year. These lead the BMW 530e, VW e-Golf, Nissan Leaf, Mini Countryman Cooper S E, and Range Rover Sport P400e respectively.

The Model 3 is also unsurprisingly the best selling model in Q4 2019, more than 1,800 units ahead of the BMW 330e in second place for October-December 2019. The Nissan Leaf sits in third place for the quarter with almost exactly half the 330e's 3,265 sales.

EV sales Q4 2019

The Leaf's 1,629 units puts it ahead of the VW e-Golf (1,242) and Jaguar I-Pace (1,075) in the top five for Q4 2019. The rest of the top 10 is rounded out by the BMWs i3 and 530e, before three PHEV SUVs arrive in the shape of the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Range Rover P400e.

The overall EV market is still dominated by the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, with more than 44,500 units sold since it went on sale in 2013. It comfortably leads the Nissan Leaf in second place - and leading pure-EV - with almost 28,400 units on UK roads.

BMW then takes the next three places on the overall best-seller's list, with the 330e, i3, and 530e in third, fourth, and fifth respectively. These sit ahead of the Tesla Model 3, Renault Zoe, Mercedes Benz C 350 e, Tesla Model S, and VW Golf GTE in the top 10 best-selling plug-in cars.

Following Q3's trend of strong EV sales, Q4 looks to continue that theme. Spots one to six are pure-electric apart from the 330e in second place. There's plenty of blue to be found on the left-hand side of the year's sales chart too. It's worth remembering that only but a handful of the i3's orange bar are made up of the range-extended version - the majority are pure-EVs since the REX model was taken off sale earlier this year.

As always, the DfT figures are more than a quarter behind where we currently are, which means there's plenty of movement to be expected on the chart next time around. Q1 2020's figures are likely to see further growth for newer models like the Mercedes Benz EQC and MG ZS EV.

It's interesting to note that right at the bottom of the table, with a handful of registrations scraping into Q4 2019's statistics, are the Mini Electric and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. These EVs are expected to sell in high numbers, and will likely be joined by the likes of Vauxhall's Corsa-e and the Peugeot e-208 the next time DfT publishes its figures.

The arrival of the new Zoe early in 2020 will surely boost Renault's popular electric supermini's figures again, as will the next-generation of Kia's Soul EV - though this may arrive too late in Q1 to have much impact.

EV-PHEV split 2019

Combined sales see BMW retain top manufacturer status. The German manufacturer has sold more than 55,300 plug-in models in the UK to the end of Q4 2019. It's seven available models contrast with Mitsubishi's approach to sit in second place, with the Outlander PHEV almost single-handedly putting the Japanese manufacturer there.

Likewise, the Leaf is the primary reason for Nissan's third spot, and Tesla has quickly climbed the manufacturer table off the back of the Model 3 success.

Pure-EV sales mix continues to make up ground on PHEVs, though there's still a gulf in the powertrain split. EVs now account for 37% of all plug-in models on the road, though that figure was only 31% at the same point the previous year.

High level figures from the DfT show that around 257,000 plug-in cars (and plug-in vans that share a car-based variant) have been registered to the end of Q4 2019. Of these, 161,000 are PHEVs, 96,000 are pure-electric, and 170 are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Find out more about electric cars

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:30th Apr 2020

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