Electric car sales double in 2020 as diesel and petrol registrations slump

Electric car sales double in 2020 as diesel and petrol registrations slump
More than double the number of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have been sold so far this year compared to the whole of 2019 – in a ‘watershed moment’ for the sector.

Registrations of diesel cars have more than halved over the same time period, with petrol cars faring much the same.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 86,291 pure electric cars were registered between January 2020 and November 2020, up from 37,850 last year.

Registrations for new diesels have fallen sharply over the same period – down 57.8% from 583,488 over the course of 2019 to just 245,959 so far this year.

Petrol cars have suffered a similar fate, with 845,467 vehicles sold between January 2020 and November 2020. More than 1.4 million were sold for the whole of last year.

Year to date – Nov 2020All of 2019% change

Even isolated stats for November tell a powerful story, with BEV sales more than doubling from 4,652 in 2019, to 10,345 in 2020 – a 122% increase.

When comparing November 2019 and November 2020, diesel and petrol car sales fell by 56.2% and 41.9% respectively.†

BEVs continue to enjoy a growing share of the market claiming 9.1% of all car sales last month (up from 3.0% in Nov 2019) and 5.8% of the market for the year so far (up from 1.5% for the same period in 2019). 

Conventional combustion engines became less popular as diesels accounted for 14% of the market last month (down from 23.2% in November 2019). Petrol cars made up 49.1 % of the market in November 2020, (down from 61.4% in November 2019).

RAC data insight spokesman Rod Dennis said: “We may well now be reaching a watershed moment when it comes to new car sales in the UK... the rise in demand for plug-in electrified vehicles appears to partly be taking place at petrol and diesel’s expense.”

Mr Dennis called 2021 a “critically important year when it comes to understanding the appetite drivers have for ‘going electric’” and hopes that a negative economic outlook doesn’t quell demand in the long run.

He reassured electric car owners that the RAC is well-equipped to assist with the growing number of BEVs: “Fortunately, we are well positioned to cope with this demand as 80 of our patrol vans are now fitted with lightweight mobile charging units.”

He added: “In the event an electric car or an SUV needs to be recovered, half of all our patrol vans are equipped with our market-leading ‘all-wheels-up’ recovery system.”

Find out more about how the UK is getting ready for electric cars.

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 † https://www.smmt.co.uk/vehicle-data/car-registrations/
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