UK auto sales hit lowest since 1992 despite electric cars posting ‘best-ever yr’

This picture, from June 2020, reveals a Tesla Model Three parked up and charging in central London.

William Barton | iStock Editorial | Getty Images

New automotive sales within the U.Ok. slumped by virtually 30% in 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic and the enforced shuttering of showrooms hitting demand.

Figures launched on Wednesday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders present new automotive registrations amounted to 1,631,064 final yr, a drop of 680,076 in comparison with 2019 and the lowest quantity since 1992.

While the general market suffered, electric cars nonetheless managed to take pleasure in what the SMMT described as their “best-ever year.”

Road customers’ demand for battery electric autos rose by 185.9% in 2020, with 108,205 new registrations. Sales of plug-in hybrid electric autos hit 66,877, a rise of 91.2%.

The SMMT stated that mixed, battery and plug-in hybrid electric cars “accounted for more than one in 10 registrations — up from around one in 30 in 2019.”

According to the business group, British customers can now select from over 100 plug-in automotive fashions, with producers attributable to “bring more than 35 to market in 2021 — more than the number of either petrol or diesel new models planned for the year.”

Work nonetheless must be achieved for electric autos to catch up and compete with fashions primarily based on the interior combustion engine, nevertheless. Despite sales of gas-powered cars dropping by 39% final yr, they nonetheless loved a market share of 55.4%, whereas the market share for diesel cars was 16%.

The best-selling automotive in 2020 was the Ford Fiesta however, in a small signal of how the market might finally change within the years forward, the Tesla Model 3 — an electric car — was the preferred automotive for December.

The U.Ok. numbers come after information for automotive sales for Norway have been launched. On Tuesday, Reuters, citing the Norwegian Road Federation, reported that battery electric autos accounted for 54.3% of all new automotive sales in Norway final yr. This, it stated, was a world file.

With considerations about air air pollution and its results on well being and the setting growing, the modes of transport folks use are starting to vary. In current years, a variety of governments all over the world have established new objectives for low and nil emission autos.

Toward the tip of final yr, the U.Ok. introduced plans to cease promoting new diesel and gasoline-powered cars and vans by 2030, whereas Norway desires all new gentle vans and passenger cars bought to be zero emission by the yr 2025. Elsewhere, Denmark has proposed a phase-out of recent diesel and petrol automotive sales in 2030.

One problem in relation to the uptake of electric autos pertains to the charging infrastructure required to maintain them on the street. Efforts are actually underway to treatment this, with the U.Ok.’s first forecourt devoted to charging electric autos opening final month. 

In an announcement issued Wednesday, Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief govt, stated: “With manufacturers bringing record numbers of electrified vehicles to market over the coming months, we will work with government to encourage drivers to make the switch, while promoting investment in our globally-renowned manufacturing base — recharging the market, industry and economy.”

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