In May, new passenger car registrations in the United Kingdom increased by almost 17 percent year-over-year to 145,204. After five months of 2023, the total number of new registrations amounted to 772,454 (up 17 percent).

Plug-in electric cars definitely are one of the growth engines, outpacing the general car market and gaining market share.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reports that 33,538 new plug-in cars were registered last month (47 percent more than a year ago). This result represents about 23.1 percent of the total volume (it was 18.3 percent a year ago).

All-electric car sales increase even faster - by 59 percent year-over-year, reaching 24,513 new registrations and nearly 17 percent of the market (versus 12.4 percent a year ago).

Plug-in electric car registrations in the UK – May 2023

  • BEVs: 24,513 (up 59%) and 16.9% market share
  • PHEVs: 9,025 (up 23%) and 6.2% market share
  • Total: 33,538 (up 47%) and 23.1% market share

So far this year, more than 170,000 new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in the UK, which is 25 percent more than a year ago and more than one-fifth of the market.

New plug-in car registrations year-to-date:

  • BEVs: 121,265 (up 31%) and 15.7% market share
  • PHEVs: 49,385 (up 13%) and 6.4% market share
  • Total: 170,650 (up 25%) and 22.1% market share

For reference, in the 12 months of 2022, more than 368,000 new passenger plug-in cars were registered in the UK, reaching an average market share of 22.8%.

More details, also including other powertrain types:

Top models

The Tesla Model Y was the only stand-alone all-electric model among the top 10 most registered in May, with 2,509 units. This allowed it to maintain its seventh position year-to-date (14,012 units).


In the case of light commercial vehicles (LCV), some 25,359 units were registered last month (up 15 percent year-over-year). Out of that, 1,041 were all-electric (up 20 percent year-over-year), which translated to a market share of 4.1%.

Electrification of the LCV segment (with over 25 individual models) lags behind passenger cars, but according to the SMMT, the perspectives are good (especially for 2024), although charging infrastructure must be improved. 

"Next year, the launch of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate will set a minimum quota for new ZEV registrations for every manufacturer, however, the greatest barrier to increased BEVs on UK roads is charging anxiety – the fear of being unable to find a suitable, available and working chargepoint wherever and whenever needed – a particularly acute concern for commercial vehicle operators."