UK’s EV Market Share Jumps To 16% In November — Overtaking Diesel

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Europe’s third largest auto market, the UK, saw plugin electric vehicle market share of 15.9% in November 2020, up significantly from a relatively strong 5.8% in November 2019. Diesel’s share of sales in the UK slipped below the plugin share for the first time, at 14.0% and falling rapidly. Overall auto volumes were down 27.4% year-on-year.

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The 15.9% plugin share was a new record for a relatively normal trading month (April’s 34% share was in the context of BEV pre-orders still delivering in an otherwise frozen auto market).

Full battery electrics (BEVs) contributed 9.1% of November’s combined EV result, with plugin hybrids (PHEVs) contributing 6.8%, a relative division of labour roughly in step with previous months. The UK’s year-to-date cumulative plugin share now stands at 9.6% and is being pulled quickly upwards by the acceleration in share in recent months.

As usual, we don’t yet have detailed data about the popular plugin models sold during November. However, most of the UK’s top 10 best selling autos now offer PHEV or BEV variants:

UK best selling autos. Chart courtesy SMMT.

Up until the end of September 2020, the Tesla Model 3, Nissan LEAF, and Renault ZOE were the top selling BEVs of the year, with the incoming Volkswagen ID.3 having all to play for. We’ll find out in due course whether the ID.3 has managed to disrupt this picture.

The Tesla already scored 15,500 sales over the first 9 months of 2020 (over 2.5× those of the LEAF runner up), so will comfortably take the UK top spot again this year.

The UK is currently by far the largest European market for the Model 3, averaging around 50% more sales volume than its next largest market, Germany.

Tesla Model 3. Image courtesy Tesla.

What will December 2020 bring in plugin market share? Over the past two years, December has typically been the strongest month, with between 10% and 25% relative share growth over November. It’s likely this year will again see a similar uptick.

That should translate to around 18% to 20% plugin share for the UK in December 2020. Incredible considering the UK started the year at “only” 6%. What do you think? Is 18% to 20% realistic? Please lend me your thoughts in the comments section.


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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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