Electric car sales UK: electric car sales up over 150% year-on-year

Electric-car sales grow again in July, with a 158% increase recorded compared to the same month last year

Sales of pure electric cars in the UK rose by 158% in July compared to July 2018, with 2,271 new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registered across the country last month.

Data compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also shows that 70.6% more electric cars have been sold so far in 2019 compared to the same point last year. This is despite the overall car market – which is still dominated by petrol and diesel vehicles – declining by 3.5% in the same seven-month period.

Demand for electric cars is rising steadily: popular models like the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric sold out their entire allocation for 2019 several months ago. However, electric cars still account for a small share of the overall market, with just 1% of new cars sold in the UK this year featuring a fully electric powertrain.

Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid registrations have dropped again, with 49.6% fewer PHEVs sold last month than in July 2018. A total of 16,687 new plug-in hybrids have been sold in the UK in 2019, down from 24,703 at the same stage in 2018.

Sales of petrol-electric hybrids – such as the Toyota Prius Hybrid and Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – have increased year-on-year: 7,758 sales represents a 34.2% increase on July 2018. Year to date, hybrid sales as a proportion of the whole market have increased from 3.2 to 4.0% compared to the same point in 2018.

Late last year, the Government’s plug-in car grant was restructured, reducing the discount for electric cars from £4,500 to £3,500. No plug-in hybrid vehicle currently on sale is eligible, with this type of car having previously attracting an incentive worth £2,500.

Commenting on the latest figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Despite yet another month of decline in the new-car market, it’s encouraging to see substantial growth in zero-emission vehicles. Thanks to manufacturers’ investment in these new technologies over many years, these cars are coming to market in greater numbers than ever before.

"If the UK is to meet its environmental ambitions, however, government must create the right conditions to drive uptake, including long-term incentives and investment in infrastructure. The fastest way to address air-quality concerns is through fleet renewal, so buyers need to be given the confidence to invest in the new, cleaner vehicles that best suit their driving needs, regardless of how they are powered."