2020 best year yet for EV and PHEV sales

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Despite the UK new car market falling by-29.4% in 2020, it was however a bumper year for battery and plug-in hybrid electric cars, which together accounted for more than one in 10 registrations – up from around one in 30 in 2019.

According to SMMT figures, demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) grew by 185.9% to 108,205 units, while registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rose 91.2% to 66,877.

Encouragingly, there is room for further growth as most of these registrations (68%) were for company cars, indicating that private buyers need stronger incentives to make the switch, as well as more investment in charging infrastructure, especially public on-street charging.

Covid restrictions, an acceleration of the end of sale date for petrol and diesel cars to 2030 and Brexit uncertainty, the industry suffered a total turnover loss of some £20.4 billion. Private vehicle demand fell by -26.6% overall, amounting to a £1.9 billion loss of VAT to the Exchequer. The year saw also saw -31.1% fewer vehicles joining large company car fleets.

In an a typical year, demand fell across all segments bar specialist sports, which grew by 7.0%, although Britain’s most popular class of car remained the supermini, retaining a 31.2% market share despite a -25.9% decline in registrations. Meanwhile, although falling by a combined -32.9%, petrol and mild hybrid (MHEV) petrol cars made up 62.7% of registrations, while diesel and MHEV diesels, down -47.6%, comprised almost a fifth (19.8%) of the market.