March 2020 saw UK market share of plug-in electric vehicles reach a record 7.3%, close to 4× the result from March 2019. A huge 4,718 unit push from the Tesla Model 3 contributed almost half of all battery electric vehicle sales, and entered it into the overall top 10 best sellers list.
Meanwhile the overall market declined 44.4% year on year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with diesels falling by 62%.
Electric vehicle sales comprised mainly pure battery electrics (BEVs), with a ratio of almost 2:1 over plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The share of traditional plug-less hybrids (6%) fell slightly compared to 12 months ago, and plug-less mild-hybrids grew their share to 9%.
The UK auto industry association (SMMT) doesn’t release specific EV model data or EV brand share data, but it has indirectly clarified that the Tesla Model 3 had a huge month in the UK.
It is Tesla’s policy not to publicise monthly regional registration data, which is why they are categorised as 'Other' in the SMMT data.
— SMMT (@SMMT) January 6, 2020
The SMMT March best sellers listing clearly shows “other” — i.e., the Tesla Model 3 — listed at 9th place with 4,718 sales. This huge push in March makes sense as the end-of-quarter month, and targeting the UK market ahead of substantial new tax breaks for EV owners that start in April*. It’s also over twice the sales volume that first got the Model 3 on the UK top 10 list back in August 2019. (*See this exclusive CleanTechnica coverage of a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysis for more details on this topic: “Bank of America Merrill Lynch: UK Tesla Model 3 & Other EV 3-Year Total Cost of Ownership Analysis Shows EVs Much Cheaper than Fossil Competitors.”)
Tesla Model 3. Image courtesy Tesla.
The new MINI Electric may also have seen relatively strong March deliveries, with all powertrain variants taking the #3 spot overall with 6,019 sales in March. A large chunk of those may have been the BEV variant. We will cover more detailed UK model data when we have it.
The SMMT has downgraded the UK full year sales forecast to 1.72 million units, though will revisit their projections as the pandemic plays out. This would represent a drop of 25% from 2019’s 2.31 million auto sales.
On a positive note, the SMMT reports that:
“Despite the challenges, car manufacturers and their retail networks are providing volunteers and diverting resources and funding to help the national effort during the pandemic. Hundreds of vehicles have been deployed in local communities across the UK, helping front-line workers and volunteers in the emergency services, welfare and charity sectors to look after society’s most vulnerable. Other supportive efforts include providing breakdown assistance for NHS workers, converting premises into storage and food bank facilities, supplying personal protective equipment such as safety goggles and face shields and working alongside other sectors to scale up ventilator production.” (SMMT)
That’s great to see.
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