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UK Plugin EV Market Share Hits Record 28.1% In November – Diesel At Just 5%

The UK’s EV market share reached 28.1 % share in November, almost double the 15.9% market penetration of just one year ago!

The UK’s auto market saw EV market share reach 28.1 %, almost double the 15.9% share of a year ago. Full battery electrics took 18.8% share, were over two thirds of all plugins, and more than doubled their share, year-on-year. Diesels continued their precipitous decline, seeing just 5.1% share from 14.0% year-on-year. The overall auto market, at 115,706 sales, was fractionally up from November 2020, but 31.3% down from the pre-pandemic seasonal average.

November’s combined plugin result of 28.1% comprised a record EV market share of 18.8% for full battery electrics (BEVs, more than twice their 9.1% share of a year ago), and 9.3% share for plugin hybrids. This continues a strong shift towards BEVs from the more even weighting in H1 2021.

The cumulative plugin share for 2021 now stands at 17.5%, up from 9.6% by this point in 2020. The trailing quarter’s plugin share stands at 23.7%, with 16.1% BEVs alone.

Diesel share continues to crash, with just 5.1% in November, down from 14.0% year-on-year. Petrol share fell to 43.3% from 56.0% a year ago.

Plugless hybrids, at under 25% for the past 2 months, are well down from their recent peak of 31% in July to August. It appears that consumers are realizing that plugless HEV and mild-hybrids are simply a prop to combustion powertrains, and have no future.

UK’s Best Selling BEV Brands

We know from the SMMT overall best seller list for November that the Tesla Model 3 came in at the #3 spot (all powertrains) with 3,077 units, and was the leading BEV for the month.

We don’t have detailed model data beyond this, but we do have data on November’s brand share of the UK’s BEV market from the UK DVLA, via New Automotive. The data excludes vehicles with custom license plates, but is proportionally indicative of the broader market.

Rather than narrowly focusing on the erratic month-by-month peaks and troughs of shipping schedules, let’s look at the trailing quarter of BEV share, to see which brands are most popular in the UK market:

Tesla continues to have a strong lead, as it did in the 3 months to October, although its relative share has dropped from 17.7% to just under 15%. It will regain some of that ground if December is as proportionally strong again this year as it has been historically.

VW and Audi brands take the #2 and #3 spots, with roughly the same percentage as in last month’s chart, but with Audi edging ahead of last month’s #3, Hyundai, who have also just been overtaken by sibling brand, Kia.

Kia had a strong month in November, presumably helped by the popularity of the relatively new Kia EV6.

The rest of the top 10 brands remain largely unchanged in rank over last month, though BMW, with a strong month in November, has overtaken both Renault and Nissan, climbing to #10 position. Nissan continues to be a disappointment, now in 12th place, having led the BEV charge a decade ago. This despite making the Nissan Leaf being made in a UK factory.

Beyond nameplate brands, since many of the newest BEVs are now built on common platforms shared across automotive groups, here’s a look at the group share over the most recent three months:

Volkswagen Group has a decent lead, thanks to good performances by VW and Audi brands, as we saw above. Of all Volkswagen Group brands, Porsche is making the strongest proportional push in the UK; a record 407 Porsche Taycans were sold in November, which represented almost a third of total UK Porsche sales. That’s a decent effort for a brand so steeped in combustion powertrain legacy.

The VW brand’s BEVs count for 19.3% of its sales (thus just above the market average), and for Audi, 23.5%.

Tesla and Hyundai Group are closely competing for #2 spot, but let’s see if Tesla pulls further ahead on the basis of a strong December result.

Outlook

With plugins taking a new record 28.1% share in November, and BEVs alone taking a remarkable 18.8%, the UK plugin market is now accelerating dramatically. As BEVs take off, PHEVs have only modestly grown their numbers over the past 18 months, and we may see them plateau in 2022 or 2023. This will depend on an increasing breadth of BEV models becoming available, and continuing improvements in the UK’s DC charging infrastructure.

December has historically been the peak month for plugin share in the UK (and across most of Europe), and this year will likely follow suit. I’m expecting UK’s EV market share to come in at the 32% to 35% range in December – around a third of the overall market. BEVs alone will take well over 20% share.

With the UK’s plugin momentum now seemingly unstoppable, the Tesla Model Y coming “early 2022”, and ICE vehicles increasingly recognized as outdated, next year should see plugin share climb much further, likely reaching into the 40% to 50% range in the final quarter.

What are your thoughts on the UK electric vehicle market? Please let us know in the comments below.

 
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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. 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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