UK At 14.7% Plugin EV Share In May — Tesla And VW Most Popular Brands

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The UK auto market saw plugin electric vehicles take 14.7% share in May 2021, the highest share seen so far this year. Tesla and Volkswagen competed for the most popular full electric brand. The overall auto market, at 157,000 units, was still down in volume some 13% from seasonal norms.

May’s 14.7% combined plugin result comprised 8.4% full battery electrics (BEVs) and 6.3% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), in line with recent weightings. The year-to-date cumulative plugin share now stands at 13.8%, up almost 2x from 7.2% by this point in 2020.

Old-school (non-hybridised) diesel powertrains continued their decline, to a record low of 9.87% share. Old-school petrol powertrains were also at their 2nd lowest ever share (from December 2020), at 43.85%:

Most Popular BEV Brands

We don’t have timely detailed BEV model data for the UK market, but do have brand data from the UK DVLA database, via polling from NewAutomotive.org. Tesla (via the Model 3) and Volkswagen (via the ID.3 and ID.4) remain the most popular brands with 14% and 13.3% of the BEV market respectively, with Hyundai, Kia, and Audi filling out the top 5 spots:

Note that the DVLA data (above chart) has a different methodology to the SMMT data (previous 2 charts), so will not match exactly, but the overall picture of brand weighting is indicative.

At the automotive group level, Volkswagen Group dominated in May, taking 23% of the UK BEV market. Hyundai motor group was in #2 spot with 17% and Tesla in #3 with 14%.

VW group will probably extend this lead in the short term, since the Skoda Enyaq will soon deliver in volume to the UK. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 and sibling Kia EV6 should give the Hyundai motor group a boost when they deliver, in the summer and autumn respectively. Tesla’s Model Y should prove popular but won’t deliver to the UK in volume until likely sometime in 2022.

Tesla Model 3 / Image: Tesla

With an ever higher volume of compelling and increasingly affordable BEV models delivering to the UK market, and with most UK new car buyers now aware of the advantages of BEVs, the fast rate of electric vehicle growth will continue. June, July and August have historically seen a notable uptick in plugin share in the UK, and we could reasonably expect 20% share or higher in August.

The full year cumulative plugin share in 2021 in the UK is still on track to end close to, or marginally above 20%, a doubling from last year’s 10.7%. I’d estimate that the month of December will see over 30% share, perhaps in the upper 30s. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.


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