Electric car sales UK: electric car sales jump 63.3%

Electric-car sales continue to rise as April sees 1,517 new battery electric cars on UK roads, although plug-in hybrid sales are down

Sales of electric cars leapt by 63.3% in April, with 1,517 new battery electric cars (BEVs) joining UK roads last month.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that 2019’s total electric car sales are 55.5% higher than at the same stage in 2018.

This is in spite of the overall market – including petrol and diesel vehicles – declining by 2.7% over the same four-month period.

Demand for electric cars is rising rapidly: the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric have long since sold out for 2019.

However, electric cars still represent a small share of the overall market, with just 0.9% of new cars sold in the UK this year featuring a fully electric powertrain.

Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid registrations have tumbled again, with 33.4% fewer PHEVs sold in April than 12 months ago. A total of 10,504 new plug-in hybrids have been sold in the UK this year, down from 13,196 at the same stage in 2018.

Petrol-electric hybrids – such as the Toyota Prius Hybrid and Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – saw sales rise by 31.1% last month, with 6,810 sales representing 4.2% of the total car market. However, diesel-electric cars are disappearing fast, with only seven sold in total so far this year and none at all last month.

Overall, electrified vehicles – sometimes referred to as alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) – have accounted for 6.4% of all cars sold in 2019.

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.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “While it’s great to see buyers respond to the growing range of pure-electric cars on offer, they still only represent a tiny fraction of the market and are just one of a number of technologies that will help us on the road to zero. Industry is working hard to deliver on this shared ambition, providing ever-cleaner cars to suit every need.

“We need policies that help get the latest, cleanest vehicles on the road more quickly and support market transition for all drivers. This includes investment in infrastructure and long term incentives to make new technologies as affordable as possible.”