UK Plugin EV Share over 20% in September, Tesla Model 3 Global Bestseller

The UK car market saw plug-in electric vehicles take 21.65% share in September, an increase of more than twice from the previous year. Complete electric batteries outperformed, taking a 15.2% share alone and a record volume of 32,721 units. Old-fashioned diesel sales have fallen off a cliff, falling to less than 5% market share in an overall automotive market down about 45% in volume from seasonal standards to just over 215 000 units. With a late quarter push, the Tesla Model 3 was the UK’s overall bestseller in September.

The combined September plug-in result of 21.6% included 15.2% complete electric batteries (BEVs) and 6.4% plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), a continuing reweighting towards BEVs which is continued this year. Plug-in hybrid vehicles – no longer receiving any incentives in the UK – have remained stable at a 6% to 7% share for most of 2021. The cumulative share of plugins for 2021 now stands at 16, 1%, compared to 8.8% at this stage in 2020.

Old-fashioned combustion powertrains (those without regeneration / power assist) fell below 50% of the market (48.75%) for the first time since the Steam Age. Unassisted diesels fell to their lowest point in the modern era, at just 4.95% share, down from 14.33% year-on-year, with a pitiful volume of 10,658 units.

Light hybrid diesels (which offer modest efficiency savings of around 15%) have gained around 6% market share, but are no longer a growth category. In fact, the plugless hybrids as a whole (light and HEV variants) have remained static at around 30% of the market for the past 5 months and could now be on hold as BEVs grow to replace everything, starting with the ones. dirtiest fossils. .

Most popular BEV brands

As usual, we do not have complete data on all of the top selling BEV models in the UK, but we do have data on brand share. We also know, via the SMMT, that the Tesla Model 3, boosted by Tesla’s usual end-of-quarter peak, was the best-selling vehicle in the UK in September, with 6,879 registrations.

Use of DVLA data courtesy of New automobile, we can rank the most popular BEV brands of September. (Note that the DVLA data differs from the more comprehensive SMMT data, excluding custom license plates, but the ranking is correct.)

While the Tesla Model 3 was clearly very dominant in September, that was largely because September accounted for 93% of Tesla’s third-quarter deliveries in the UK, an artefact of Tesla’s international logistics limitations as ‘it has only two active factories. Other factories will be online soon.

When we step back and take a broader view of the entire third quarter of 2021, the market share data between the different automotive groups tells a different story:

In this big picture, the VW Group led by a significant margin in the third quarter, possibly thanks in part to the popularity of the new Volkswagen ID. 4. Tesla was actually only slightly ahead of Hyundai Motor Group in the third quarter as a whole.

However, this is all before the Tesla Model Y starts shipping to the UK (the RHD variant is not yet in volume production). Once that is done, those market shares will change again, with Tesla getting very close to the VW Group.

Keep in mind that this is an evolving landscape with many large manufacturers offering various models (often on shared platforms) at increasingly affordable prices. For example, Hyundai Motor Group is no exception, with the arrival of the Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 next year. All of this is great news for consumers.

Genesis GV60. Image Courtesy: Genesis

Meanwhile, notice how Renault-Nissan lost its momentum, despite its early lead in BEVs and despite the construction of the Nissan Leaf in the UK. What a desappointment.


New Automotive’s analysis of DVLA data reveals that many urban areas in the UK are now switching to BEVs en masse, with several cities seeing BEVs alone taking over 20% of new sales. Oxford and Newcastle recorded nearly 25% of BEV’s share in September.

Given that all automakers know that BEVs are now the only area of ​​growth in the market and that they will completely dominate within a few years, most do not reasonably allow the shortage of chips to weigh too heavily on their production of BEVs. (compared to their production of ICE). .

We also know that the UK has suffered from fuel shortages for combustion vehicles in recent weeks, which gives new impetus to the transition to electric vehicles.

Based on reliable seasonal models, December is now on track for a more than 25% share of BEV in the UK, and PHEVs will likely contribute another 8-12%. Plugins will therefore total around 35% share by the end of the year.

Assuming spark plug-less hybrids (HEV and mild hybrids) stay at around 30%, the share of old-fashioned ICE powertrains will likely drop to around 35% (around one-third) of the market in December.

What do you think of the UK’s transition to cleaner transport? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

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