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Tesla Model 3 rockets up EV sales charts with triumphant Q1 2020 sales

Tesla is dominating the UK EV sales charts, having sold more than 5,000 units in Q1 2020. That's according to the latest figures out from the Department for Transport (DfT) today (Tuesday 30th June).

The Tesla Model 3 has seen 5,304 registrations in the period covering January to March 2020. DfT figures come out a quarter behind the present period, so these are the most up-to-date model statistics available.

To put the Model 3's sales into context, in Q1 2020 it outsold the next best selling electric vehicle at more than two to one. Nissan's Leaf is the second best performing plug-in vehicle in Q1 2020, but at 2,621 units, it's sales are less than half that of the Tesla.

DfT Q1 2020 sales

BMW's 330e is the third best-selling model of the quarter at more than 2,100 units, followed by MG's ZS EV with almost 1,800 registrations and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV on almost 1,500 units for fourth and fifth respectively.

Other high performing models include the VW e-Golf, Jaguar I-Pace, Peugeot e-208, Range Rover Sport P400e and Audi e-tron - covering the remainder of the top 10 in order.

Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV remains the UK's best-selling plug-in vehicle in total, and will remain there for some time to come still despite the accelerating sales of other models. At more than 46,000 units, it's 15,000 registrations ahead of the second-placed Nissan Leaf which just tops 31,000.

DfT total EV sales

BMW's 330e and i3 sit in third and fourth respectively, but the Tesla Model 3 moves into fifth position in terms of outright sales, having only been available to register in the UK for 12 months.

DfT's figures for Q1 2019 saw no Model 3's recorded, and the Tesla only started arriving in Q2 2019, with just 173 registered. It's quite a rise for the EV, and is on track to continuing its rapid climb considering the past three quarters' figures have all seen around 5,000 units every sold every three months.

DfT pure-EV total sales

The Q1 2020 statistics prove an interesting set of results, since they are the last figures to largely be untouched by the coronavirus lockdown.

We know from SMMT figures for the past couple of months - making up two thirds of the current quarter - that the UK car market has dropped significantly. In May, it was down almost 90% overall, while April saw the UK new car market drop 97%.

EVs bucked that trend,and we know the Tesla Model 3 has done relatively well since it topped the outright best-sellers chars for each month. However, April's Model 3 sales were less than 700 units, and May's were less than 900, so it would be incredible of Tesla's most affordable car to continue its 5,000 unit a quarter trend.

The Model 3's trim split is pretty equal, showing demand for all variants. Of the 15,876 cars sold, 5,593 were the entry-level Standard Range + specification (35%), 5,266 were the top of the range Performance model (33%) and the remainder were the Long Range Model 3.

Important new entrants to the market have started strongly, with the Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa-e, and Mini electric all picking up registrations quickly with 784, 420, and 358 units respectively. These figures won't reflect a full quarter on sale yet, and are promising for the latest EVs.

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:30th Jun 2020

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