Thursday 5 December 2019 11:53 am

Electric cars take record UK market share as battery-powered vehicle sales surge 228 per cent

Britain’s drivers bought more electric vehicles last month than ever before, as demand for fully electric battery cars surged more than three-fold.

In November, pure electric battery car sales rose 228 per cent compared to the same period last year, with 4,652 of the vehicles registered.

Read more: Electric dreams: How long until electric cars go mainstream in the UK?

Meanwhile, one in every 10 new cars sold last month was a hybrid or fully-electric car, as so-called alternatively fuelled vehicles took a record 10.2 per cent market share, according to the influential trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said it was “good news” that electric car sales were surging.

Hawes and other industry experts agreed that the growth was mainly down to work done by car makers to increase the range of electric cars on offer to drivers, rather than modest government incentives. 

Michael Woodward, head of UK automotive at Deloitte, said it came after “significant investment in the technology by manufacturers”.

Indeed, the world’s top 20 car makers spent a record £70bn on research and development last year.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said: “It is a sure sign that drivers are increasingly committed to playing their part in reducing emissions when selecting a new car. This is partly facilitated by the increased range of electric and hybrid models available.”

However, pure electric battery-powered cars still only made up three per cent of the overall UK car market, and Hawes urged politicians to give the market a boost heading into the new year.

“There is still a long way to go for these vehicles to become mainstream and, to grow uptake further, we need fiscal incentives, investment in charging infrastructure and a more confident consumer.”

Read more: Electric car charging points outnumber petrol stations

However, the growth in electric cars was not enough to stop the overall new car market declining 1.3 per cent last month.

Hawes said this reflected a “climate of uncertainty” in the UK, which has been driven by a global downturn in the automotive market and exacerbated by a lack of clarity over the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.