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Electric car statistics - data and projections

Dan Powell

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Dan Powell

Electric car stats & projections

The electric vehicle (EV) market is booming, according to the latest vehicle stats. Electric passenger car sales increased by 186% in 2020 and EVs enjoyed a record year in 2021 against a market that was 28.7% below pre-Covid-19 levels. 

Overall, 1.65 million new cars were registered in 2021 (1% up on 2020) due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the global semiconductor chip shortage.  

Despite this, more battery electric vehicles (BEV) were sold than over the previous five years combined (2016-2020), with 190,727 registrations (11.6% of all new car sales), while plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) made up 7% or 114,554 cars. 

This means that electrified vehicles made up 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021.

In January 2022, 14,433 BEVs were sold, making up 12.5% of all new registrations that month (115,087). In February 2022 this grew to a 17.7% market share with 10,417 BEVs sold in what is traditionally a quiet month ahead of the 1 March plate change.

March 2022 saw the highest volume of BEV registrations ever recorded in a single month, with 39,315 new zero emission cars leaving dealerships – an increase of 78.7% on last year. 

There were more BEVs registered in March 2022 than during the entirety of 2019, with their monthly market share growing to 16.1%. 

In April 2022, 12,899 new BEVs were sold – an increase of 40.9% on April 2022 . This gives them a 10.8% market share, up from 6.5% last year.  Registrations of hybrids also rose by 18.3%, while the number of new plug-in hybrid registrations decreased by a third (32.8%). As a result, electrified vehicles comprised 27.9% of all new car registrations during April.

Today there are an estimated 400,000 electric cars (EVs) on the road in the UK and more than 750,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

The growth of the EV market is expected to accelerate in the coming years as the UK prepares itself for the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales. However, following big investment in the UK’s charging infrastructure, we think there has never been a better time to buy a new or used EV. 

By the end of 2022, it's projected that electric cars will outsell diesel and mild hybrid diesel. Petrol is set to remain the most popular fuel choice for used car buyers for the next few years, yet, while diesel is expected to become a niche choice over time as drivers opt for cleaner and cheaper plug-in alternatives.

There’s been a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles on sale in the UK with more than 40% of models now available as plug-ins. Carmakers like Nissan, Tesla, Ford and Vauxhall have all expanded their model line ups to include affordable plug-in models. Premium carmaker Volkswagen has gone one step further and created the electric-only ID. range while Mercedes-Benz has created its innovative Mercedes-EQ models. See our guides for the best electric cars or the cheapest electric cars.

If you buy a new electric car in the UK you will automatically qualify for a £1,500 discount if the car is priced under £32,000. The plug-in car grant (PICG) is funded by the Government and is automatically deducted from the advertised price of the car. The grant is set to be in place until at least early 2023.

Our electric car statistics report takes a monthly look at the latest trends that are affecting the EV market. From charging stations and infrastructure to units sold and growth rates, this is your one-stop-shop for the latest electric car statistics, data and facts. Looking for general car sales statistics?

(Source: DfT, SMMT) 

Key electric car stats and figures

  • A typical electric car will take eight hours to charge from empty at a 'fast' 7kW charge point
  • Many electric cars are compatible with 'rapid' 50kW chargers, which adds 100 miles in around 35 minutes  
  • There are 31,507 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK. Of these, 5,751 are rapid EV chargers
  • In the UK, Scotland has the highest number of EV charging devices per 100,000 of the population (47), followed by England (36), Wales (29) and Northern Ireland (17)
  • At the end of June 2021, there were 39.2 million licensed vehicles in the UK but roughly 300,000 of these were EVs
  • 2021 was the best year for new electric car sales with 190,727 new EV registrations
  • Electric cars accounted for 11.6% of all new car registrations in 2021. Petrol is the most popular fuel choice, with a 46.3% market share 
  • The original Nissan Leaf was the first EV to enjoy mainstream success. Launched in 2011, the Leaf combined family car practicality with a maximum range of 100 miles
  • The Tesla Model S has the best maximum EV range in 2021, covering up to 379-miles on a single charge
  • The Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling electric car in the world with 365,000 sales in 2020
  • The Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling electric car in the UK in 2021, with 34,783 sales
  • The Tesla Model Y is currently the best-selling electric car in the UK in 2022

(source: DfT, SMMT, Gov.uk, Office for Low Emission Vehicles, Statista, Pod Point, HonestJohn.co.uk)

What is an electric vehicle?

Electric cars (sometimes referred to as electric vehicles or EVs) are battery-powered vehicles that run on electricity 100% of the time. Unlike petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles, electric cars do not have a combustion engine; instead, electric cars use an electric motor and a rechargeable battery.

A typical electric car will travel between 100 - 200 miles on a single charge, while premium models like the Tesla Model S or the Polestar 2 are capable of covering around 300 miles before you will be asked to plug the car in for a recharge. 

What are the different types of electric vehicles?

The term 'electric vehicle' is applied to a range of cars. Not all of these vehicles are pure electric. In fact, some 'electric vehicles' will actually be hybrids, using a petrol or diesel engine alongside an electric motor and plug-in battery. 

Electric vehicle categories include: 

  • Pure electric vehicles (EVs) - These cars are powered by an electric battery only and typically have a range of 100 - 200 miles
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) - Unlike EVs, plug-in hybrid vehicles are powered by a combination of electricity and fossil fuel (petrol or diesel). PHEVs have a smaller battery than pure electric cars, which means they have a maximum EV range of 15 - 30 miles. When the battery is empty the combustion engine will power the vehicle until the battery is recharged again
  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) - Hybrid vehicles can only be driven a few miles on pure electricity. A hybrid car has no plug, instead, it recovers energy under braking and uses it to recharge its battery on the move. We go into more detail between PHEVs and HEVs in our What is a hybrid car guide, while we also rank the best hybrid cars

How do electric vehicles work?

Unlike their petrol and diesel counterparts, electric vehicles are not powered by an internal combustion engine. Instead, the wheels are driven by one or more electric motors, which are powered by a battery that is recharged via a plug on the car. 

As with petrol and diesel cars, the advertised range of an EV varies depending on driving style. Weather conditions can also impact the range of an electric car, along with the use of in-car heating and air conditioning. 

Electric cars feature smart energy recovery tech, which automatically tops up the battery by converting kinetic energy into electricity (when braking or travelling down a hill).

Recharging the battery in an electric car can be a lengthy process - most EVs will require eight or nine hours for a full charge from a 7kW wallbox. However, most electric vehicles have a 'rapid charge' function that uses a higher voltage to charge the battery to 80% of its charge in around 40 minutes.

Looking to value your existing car

The best-selling electric cars (EVs) 2021 

There's no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling electric car in the UK in 2021, with 34,783 sales. The next best-selling model, the Kia e-Niro, recorded less than half that with 12,271 sales. 

  1. Tesla Model 3 (34,783)
  2. Kia e-Niro (12,271)
  3. VW ID.3 (11,032)
  4. Nissan Leaf (9,052)
  5. Audi E-Tron (7,396)
  6. Hyundai Kona (7,199)
  7. MINI Electric (6,615)
  8. Renault Zoe (5,778)
  9. Vauxhall Corsa-e (5,605)
  10. MG ZS (5,380)

(Source: SMMT)


Electric vehicle sales statistics

How many electric vehicles have been sold in the UK?

Number of new electric cars sold in the UK by year

Year

    • 2021
    • 2020
    • 2019
    • 2018

Number of new electric car registrations (source: SMMT)

    • 190,727
    • 108,205
    • 37,850
    • 15,510

How many battery electric vehicles have been sold month-by-month in 2022?

Number of new electric cars sold in the UK by month in 2022

Month

    • January
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December

Number of new electric car registrations (source: SMMT)

    • 14,433
    • 10,417
    • 39,315
    • 12,899
    • TBC
    • TBC
    • TBC
    • TBC
    • TBC
    • TBC
    • TBC
    • TBC

How many battery electric vehicles have been sold month-by-month in 2021?

Number of new electric cars sold in the UK by month in 2021

Month

    • January
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December

Number of new electric car registrations (source: SMMT)

    • 6,260
    • 3,516
    • 22,003
    • 9,152
    • 13,120
    • 19,842
    • 11,139
    • 7,388
    • 32,721
    • 16,155
    • 21,726
    • 27,705

How does the UK compare to the European Union for electric car sales?

The UK has the second largest electric car market in Europe. Between January and July 2021, 85,000 new electric cars were sold in the UK, a figure that's behind the market leader Germany (174,000) but ahead of France (80,000).

(source: Matthias Schmidt)


Electric car sales in the EU

Top 10 EU counties for electric cars sales - January to July 2021

Country

    • Germany
    • UK
    • France
    • Norway
    • Italy
    • Sweden 
    • Netherlands
    • Austria
    • Switzerland
    • Belgium

Number of new electric cars sold

    • 174,000
    • 85,000
    • 80,000
    • 55,000
    • 35,000
    • 25,000
    • 20,000
    • 17,000
    • 14,000
    • 11,000

How many electric cars are in the UK?

According to the latest vehicle stats, the electric car market is booming. EV car sales increased by 76.3% in 2021, and there are an estimated 450,000 electric cars (EVs) on the road in the UK and over 775,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), as of April 2022.

How many electric cars have been registered so far in the UK in 2022? 

As of May 2022, 77,064 new electric cars have been registered in the UK, with 39,315 registered in March 2022 alone. 

What percentage of electric cars are in the UK?

It is estimated that around 2% of cars in the UK are electric or hybrid as of December 2021. 

How many electric cars were sold in the UK in 2021?

A total of 190,000 pure electric cars hit UK roads during 2021, representing a 76% increase when compared to 2020's volume.

How do electric car sales compare to new car sales overall in the UK? 

Electric car sales are booming in the UK. In 2021, new EV registrations were 76.3% higher than the year before with 190,727 new electric cars being sold. 

Despite their increasing popularity, electric cars accounted for around 11.6% of all new cars sold in the UK in 2021. Petrol was the most popular fuel type with a 46.3% market share (762,103 new car sales) with diesel taking an 8.2% share or 135,773 cars (excluding hybrids). In March 2022 EVs made up as much as 16.1% of new car registrations.

When will all cars be electric in the UK?

All new cars and vans sold in the UK must be fully electric by 2035. The government is currently on course to ban the sale of new cars and vans powered entirely by petrol and diesel by 2030 and ban the sale of new hybrid vehicles by 2035. 

(Source: SMMT)

MINI Electric Review 2022 charging

How many electric car charging stations are there in the UK?

Charging infrastructure in the UK is growing at a rapid rate with new charging points being added daily. According to the latest charging station stats, there are 31,507 EV chargers in the UK, as at 30 April 2022. These devices provide 52,804 electric car charging connectors. 

How many electric car charging locations are there in the UK?

There are 19,707 EV charging locations in the UK. This number includes devices that are classed as slow (3-5kW), fast (7-22kW), rapid (25-99kW) and ultra-rapid (100kW). The UK has 3,501 rapid charging locations as at 30 April 2022. 

(Source: Zap Map)

Latest electric car deals and offers

View all results

Nissan Leaf

110kW Tekna 40kWh 5dr Auto

  • 2021
  • 2,100 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Macklin Motors Nissan Glasgow South
  • Renfrewshire, G537SD
Price:£26,293
PCP: £510.35/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £510.35, Customer Deposit: £3,943.00, Total Deposit: £3,943.95, Optional Final Payment: £9,021.00, Total Charge For Credit: £4,534.20, Total Amount Payable: £30,827.20, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.48%, Excess Mileage Charge: 9.6ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Nissan Leaf

110kW N-Connecta 40kWh 5dr Auto

  • 2021
  • 4,923 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Stoneacre Fiat, Nissan Worksop
  • Nottinghamshire, S817AE
Price:£25,995
PCP: £409.86/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £409.86, Customer Deposit: £3,899.00, Total Deposit: £3,899.25, Optional Final Payment: £12,750.00, Total Charge For Credit: £4,999.35, Total Amount Payable: £30,994.35, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.88%, Excess Mileage Charge: 6ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Nissan Leaf

80kW Acenta 30kWh 5dr Auto

  • 2017
  • 36,750 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Broad Oak Motor Group Nissan Canterbury
  • Kent, CT11YY
Price:£14,000
HP: £391.25/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £391.25, Customer Deposit: £2,100.00, Total Deposit: £2,100.00, Total Charge For Credit: £2,185.00, Total Amount Payable: £16,185.00, Representative APR: 11.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.12%