Analysis of UK car sales suggests more new plug-in cars will be registered in the UK in 2021 than in the whole of the last decade. The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicate around 287,000 plug-in vehicles will be registered in 2021 – more the number registered between 2010 and 2019.

According to the SMMT, a total of 271,962 new battery electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) were registered between 2010 and 2019. However, with more than 236,000 new BEVs and PHEVs registered during the first 10 months of the year, the SMMT is expecting that number to be surpassed by the end of 2021.

So far this year, BEVs have accounted for most of the UK’s plug-in car registrations, with more than 141,000 registered between January 1 and October 31. In comparison, just over 95,400 plug-in hybrids have been registered over the same period. Together, the two technologies account for 16.6 percent of all new car sales in the UK.

Volkswagen Golf eHybrid charging

The news is all the more impressive given the difficulties currently facing the new car market. With a global chip shortage limiting supply and lockdown damaging trade during the first four months of the year, just 1.42 million new cars were registered during the first 10 months of 2021.

By way of a comparison, that’s just 2.8 percent higher than during the same period in a coronavirus-ravaged 2020, and far behind pre-pandemic levels. Nevertheless, the market for plug-in vehicles has remained buoyant, with PHEV registrations up by around 90 percent in the first 10 months of 2021, and BEV registrations up by 86 percent.

“As Britain hosts COP26 and seeks to align the world in committing to achieving net zero and limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, our latest outlook shows the UK experiencing a surge in plug-in vehicle uptake,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “Massive investment by industry as well as long standing government incentives have seen us go from just 188 new plug-in cars in 2010, to almost 300,000 in 2021.

“To achieve net zero by the desired date, however, uptake rates must continue to grow. This requires ongoing incentives to help consumers make the switch and significant investment in public charging infrastructure. Backed by the ingenuity and innovation of the automotive sector, we can then deliver zero-emission mobility that is accessible and affordable for all.”

Renault ZOE