New passenger car registrations in the UK amounted to 156,737, which marks a return closer to pre-pandemic levels. The volume increased almost eightfold from the low base a year ago, however, compared to May 2019, it's down 14.7%, and down 13.2% compared to the 10-year May average.

In such circumstances, the passenger plug electric car registrations increased to 22,975 (up 607% year-over-year), taking 14.7% of the market.

One of the most important findings is that plug-in hybrids are expanding at a much quicker rate than all-electric cars. If nothing will change, both categories soon might be equal.

Plug-in electric car registrations in the UK – May 2021

  • BEVs: 13,120 (up 441% year-over-year) at market share of 8.4%
  • PHEVs: 9,855 (up 1,092% year-over-year) at market share of 6.3%
  • Total: 22,975 (up 607% year-over-year) at market share of 14.7%
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So far this year, more than 100,000 new passenger plug-in cars were registered in the UK at an average market share of 13.8%.

Sales YTD:

  • BEVs: 54,051 (up 145% year-over-year) - market share of 7.5%
  • PHEVs: 46,068 (up 214% year-over-year)- market share of 6.4%
  • Total: 100,119 (up 173% year-over-year) - market share of 13.8%

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

“With dealerships back open and a brighter, sunnier, economic outlook, May’s registrations are as good as could reasonably be expected. Increased business confidence is driving the recovery, something that needs to be maintained and translated in private consumer demand as the economy emerges from pandemic support measures. Demand for electrified vehicles is helping encourage people into showrooms, but for these technologies to surpass their fossil-fuelled equivalents, a long term strategy for market transition and infrastructure investment is required.”

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More details, including also other types:

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Top models

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) does not reveal detailed registrations stats for models, but we guess that the Tesla Model 3 remains the top-selling EV year-to-date.

Kia reports that its Kia Niro EV (e-Niro) is #2 YTD with 919 units in May.

"The Kia e-Niro retained its place as the second best-selling BEV in the UK so far this year, with 919 sales in May. More than doubling its previous monthly sales, Soul EV also made an important contribution."

Vauxhall Corsa-e (in the rest of Europe known as Opel Corsa-e) noted 2,204 registrations YTD (over 10% of all Corsa), while the Vauxhall Vivaro-e vans are at 874 YTD.

"The all-electric Corsa-e has been the best-selling new electric car in the small Battery Electric Vehicle sector this year, with 2,204 registered, while the Vivaro-e remains the highest-selling electric Light Commercial Vehicle in the UK, with 874 registrations in 2021."

MG brand reports that 31.7% of its sales this year (10,760) were all-electric cars - that would be about 3,411.

"...more than three in 10 MGs sold (31.7%) were pure electric against an overall market penetration of 7.5% for BEVs across all brands."

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