Electric car sales UK 2022: EVs make up 10.9% of July registrations

UK new-car registrations in July 2022 were down 9% on the same month last year, but the market share for electric models continues to be healthy


Electric cars made up 10.9% of all new-car registrations in the UK during July 2022, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). A total of 12,243 new EVs found homes last month, representing a near-10% increase on July 2021.

Overall, the UK new-car market was down 9% on July 2021 – due to ongoing supply constraints and, most likely, the ever-worsening cost of living crisis. Other uncertainties include the global political situation and the effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

A total of 112,162 new cars were registered in July 2022; in addition to the 10.9% pure-electric models, 5.8% were plug-in hybrids, 12.2% were full hybrids, 13.4% were mild-hybrid petrol, 6.3% were mild-hybrid diesel, nearly 46% were conventional petrol and 5.5% were conventional diesel.

The Nissan Qashqai (2,514 units) was the most popular car sold in July, while the MINI (2,410 units) – which is available in both petrol and Electric form – was the second biggest seller last month. Six of the top 10 best sellers in July are currently available with either hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully-electric powertrains. The best-selling car year-to-date is the Vauxhall Corsa (24,333 units), which is also offered in electric Corsa e guise.

Vauxhall Corsa front cornering

The SMMT is currently forecasting 1.72 million new cars to be registered during 2022 as a whole, which would be a 4.5% rise on 2021. Plug-in cars are expected to account for a quarter of all registrations during the year, with pure-electric cars comprising around one in six new cars joining the roads in 2022.

UK electric and hybrid car sales in 2021

More new fully electric cars were registered in the UK during 2021 than in the previous five years combined. A total of 190,727 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) hit UK roads during 2021, representing a 76% increase on 2020's volume and an 11.6% share of the overall 2021 new-car market.

The good news for electric-car sales was tempered by a subdued performance for the UK new-car market overall, which grew by 1% on 2020's Covid-affected volume, but was still 28.7% smaller than it was in pre-pandemic 2019. A total of 1.65 million new cars entered the UK market during 2021, with petrol and mild-hybrid petrol cars making up 58.3% of sales, diesels and mild-hybrid diesels 14.2%, fully electric cars 11.6%, non-plug-in hybrids 8.9% and plug-in hybrids 7% of the total.

Tesla Model 3

Best-selling electric and plug-in hybrid cars of 2021

The Tesla Model 3 was by far the UK's best-selling electric car overall in 2021, with nearly 35,000 examples registered, compared to just over 12,000 of the second best-selling EV, the Kia e-Niro. The Volkswagen ID.3 completed the top three, with just over 11,000 examples registered.

The Model 3 was also the second best-selling car of any fuel type in the UK in 2021, behind only the Vauxhall Corsa supermini, which is available with both petrol and electric power and sold just under 41,000 units overall. The best-selling pure-electric cars in the UK across 2021 were as follows:

1. Tesla Model 334,783
2. Kia e-Niro12,271
3. Volkswagen ID.311,032
4. Nissan Leaf9,052
5. Audi e-tron7,396
6. Hyundai Kona Electric7,199
7. MINI Electric6,615
8. Renault ZOE5,778
9. Vauxhall Corsa-e5,605
10. MG ZS EV5,380

While the best-selling plug-in hybrids during 2021 were as follows:

Commenting on 2021's figures, SMMT chief Mike Hawes said: "Despite the challenges, the undeniable bright spot is the growth in electric car uptake. A record-breaking year for the cleanest vehicles is testament to the investment made by the industry over the past decade and the attractiveness of the technology.

"The biggest obstacle to our shared net zero ambitions is not product availability, however, but cost and charging infrastructure. Recent cuts to incentives and home charging grants should be reversed and we need to boost the rollout of public on-street charging with mandated targets, providing every driver, wherever they live, with the assurance they can charge where and when they want."

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