The United Kingdom (not so united these days, but that’s another story) is becoming a hot electric vehicle market, but it gets very little attention in the EV world. I’m going to postulate that’s because people drive on the wrong side of the road there. (Just sayin’.)
No doubt about it, the UK electric vehicle market isn’t close to the Norwegian market or Dutch market in terms of plug-in vehicle (PEV) market share. However, it did surpass the 3% marker in 2019, and surpassed 6% in December. This puts the UK pretty high up globally in terms of PEV market share. However, this is nothing compared to what we’re going to see in 2020. I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, more stats.
In December, some key statistics included:
- 4,939 fully electric vehicles were registered, up 221% over December 2018.
- 4,480 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were registered, up 22% over December 2018.
- Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) had 3.3% market share.
- Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) had 3% market share.
- Together, all PEVs had 6.3% market.
In 2019, some key stats included:
- 37,850 fully electric vehicles were registered, up 144% over 2018.
- 34,734 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were registered, down 18% compared to 2018.
- Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) had 1.6% market share.
- Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) had 1.5% market share.
- Together, all PEVs had 3.1% market.
True, 1.6% market share, or even 3.1% market share, is not thrilling, but the market is warming up — those figures were 0.7% (BEV) and 2.5% (PEV) in 2018. Furthermore, for insight into what could be around the corner, we should actually look at 2019 in the Netherlands rather than 2019 in the UK.
The Netherlands saw an absolute explosion in BEV sales at the end of 2019. For the year as a whole, BEVs had 13.7% market share. In December, they had 53.9% market share. For 2019 as a whole, the Tesla Model 3 was the top selling automobile in the country — scoring approximately twice as many sales as the #2 Volkswagen Polo. The big incentive that pushed BEV sales over the edge in 2019 was a reduction in the tax administered on new company-provided vehicle sales (it’s more nuanced than that, but we can keep it simple this time).
As Maarten Vinkhuyzen and I have reported in recent months, the UK is getting the same kind of BEV policy in mid-2020. This tax break is for “company cars,” but unlike the US, where there are not that many company cars on the roads (as a proportion of all cars), company cars account for a gigantic chunk of European car markets. It’s very common for Brits to “get a car from their employer,” which they get to pick but has to stay within a designated budget. These company cars are taxed like income. However, that tax is being slashed from ~22% to 0% in 2020 (starting in April), 1% in 2021, and 2% in 2022 in the UK in the middle of this year. Bank of America Merrill Lynch conducted a study on BEV cost of ownership with this incentive and shared it with CleanTechnica. The findings were not that electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3, Nissan LEAF, MG ZS EV, and Audi e-tron would be cost-competitive with their fossil-fueled competitors with this incentive. The findings were that the electric vehicles would often be significantly cheaper.
Maarten writes that the UK market for company cars is 4× larger than the Dutch market. Imagine the British public learning this year (if they don’t already know) that they’ll be able to get much more car for much less money. That’s a no-brainer, and it’s just around the corner in the UK.
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