Electric car sales UK 2022: EVs place second behind petrol cars

UK new-car registrations in 2022 were down 2% on 2021, but the market share for EVs continued to grow

Electric

More than 260,000 electric cars were sold in 2022, with EVs accounting for 16.6% of new car sales last year, making them the second most popular fuel type behind petrol-powered models.

Petrol cars continued to take the lion’s share of sales, accounting for 56% of registrations in 2022, while hybrid cars made up 11.6% of sales and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) 6.3%. However, despite the growth of EVs’ market share, new car sales overall dropped to 1.61 million, down 2% on 2021 and making it the worst year for UK car sales since 1992.

The Nissan Qashqai topped the UK sales chart, ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa – 2021’s best-selling car – while the Tesla Model Y came in third. The Ford Puma and MINI Hatch rounded out the top five. 

The Model Y was the only pure-electric car to crack the top 10, but seven of the cars featured in the list are available with either electric or plug-in hybrid powertrains.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla's Model Y was by far the UK's best-selling electric car overall in 2022, with over 35,000 examples registered, compared to a little over 19,000 of the second best-selling EV, the Tesla Model 3. The Kia e-Niro (which was replaced last year by the Niro EV) completed the top three, with just over 11,000 examples registered.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of industry trade body SMMT which compiles the registration data, warned that the slow introduction of charging points may impact the adoption of EVs. “Infrastructure is the major challenge,” said Hawes. “Charging anxiety is the biggest obstacle.

“Even taking the government’s lowest target of 300,000 charge points by 2030, that requires more than 100 new chargers to be installed every single day. The current rate is around 23 per day. The user experience may get worse before it gets better.”

2023 is expected to see an easing of the supply issues hitting the auto industry, which should enable car makers to work their way through back orders. Car sales are projected to hit 1.85 million this year after December 2022 saw the fifth consecutive month of growth.

Top 10 best selling electric cars in 2022

  1. Tesla Model Y (35,551)
  2. Tesla Model 3 (19,071)
  3. Kia e-Niro (11,197)
  4. Volkswagen ID.3 (9,832)
  5. Nissan Leaf (9,178)
  6. MINI Electric (7,425)
  7. Polestar 2 (7,345)
  8. MG5 EV (7,030)
  9. BMW i4 (6,699)
  10. Audi Q4 e-tron (6,594)

Top 10 best selling cars in 2022

  1. Nissan Qashqai (42,704)
  2. Vauxhall Corsa (35,910)
  3. Tesla Model Y (35,551)
  4. Ford Puma (35,088)
  5. MINI Hatch (32,387)
  6. Kia Sportage (29,655)
  7. Hyundai Tucson (27,839)
  8. Volkswagen Golf (26,558)
  9. Ford Kuga (26,549)
  10. Ford Fiesta (25,070)

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