From 06 April 2020, all official CO2 data for new cars is derived from the WLTP test cycle. Site currently being updated. Find out more >>

Sales of new electric cars grow in May as rest of market declines

The new electric car market defied all expectations and actually saw growth in May 2020, despite a full month of lockdown being in place.

Registrations of pure-electric models came in at 2,424 units - accounting for 12% of the overall market. Growth of 21.5% is in contrast to every other fuel type, which saw declines of at least 50+%, and the core petrol and diesel markets witnessed declines of 90+%.

EV registrations May 2020

For the second month on the trot a pure-electric model was the month's best-selling car, with Tesla's Model 3 also triumphing in April 2020. Tesla registered 852 Model 3s, comfortably ahead of the ever-popular Vauxhall Corsa in second on 790 units.

Few could have expected such a performance, even after the previous month's strong showing where pure-EV sales dropped only 10% - all other markets fell 95% or more - and market share was a record-breaking 32%.

Combined plug-in registrations - both pure-EV and PHEV - saw more than 3,200 units registered, accounting for 16% of total new car sales in May 2020. PHEV registrations were a little over 800 units, with a decline of 65% still relatively good in the current market.

SMMT registrations May 2020

Table courtesy of SMMT

Sales were still possible on-line, and deliveries clearly got through, though total new car sales for the month were down 89% compared to last year.

Car dealerships in England reopened from Monday 1st June, which means the latest figures from SMMT for new car registrations come from a period entirely under lockdown.

It will be interesting to see what boost can be got from dealerships reopening in England and a general lessening of lockdown restrictions - though the situation remains limited in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Monthly EV sales - May 2020

Find out more about electric vehicle statistics

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:4th Jun 2020

Related news