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UK EV Share Grows, Tesla Model Y Overall Runner Up

Plugin electric vehicles took 22.4% share of the UK auto market in September, up from 21.6% year-on-year. Full electrics grew share, while plugin hybrids declined. Overall auto volumes were 225,269 units, up 4.6% from a year ago, but down 34.4% from September 2019. The Tesla Model Y was the best selling all electric.

September’s combined plugin result of 22.4% saw full electrics (BEVs) take 16.9%, and plugin hybrids (PHEVs) take 5.5%. These compare with respective shares of 15.2%, and 6.4%, a year ago.

PHEVs have lost around 2% share of the market, compared to their peak in the second half of 2021 (around 7.5% to 5.5%) and may never recover.

The only possible chance they may have for a revival is in BEV-with-range-extender models (which are often classed as PHEVs). With batteries getting steadily cheaper and lighter, however, these seem unlikely to catch on in volume (the original BMW i3 REX was a decent example, in its day). If they do ever fly again, they will likely be limited to niche sports cars like the Ariel “Hipercar”.

Combined plugin growth was modest overall, with the share (and volume) seen back in March this year still not equaled in September, bucking the typical trend. However, that’s in large part due to the aforementioned PHEV shrinkage, and BEVs are still moving (slowly) in the right direct, with volume growing a modest 16.5% YoY.

Diesel-only powertrains reached a new low of 4.6% share of new sales, and should be under 2% share within a couple of years (though “mild hybrid” diesels will live on for a bit longer). Since diesels haven’t got much further to fall, are we starting to see the ranks of petrol-only sales taking the brunt of BEV growth?

Possibly. Petrol-only were at 40.7% share in September, down from 43.8 YoY. Arguably though, this still has as much to do with the (temporary) growth in plugless hybrids (mostly mild hybrids), as is does the growth in BEVs.

UK BEV Brand Share

Tesla did manage to put in a decent end-of-quarter in the UK, traditionally its highest volume European market. They took around 30.4% of the UK’s BEV sales in September, with the Model Y alone taking 8,315 units of the 38,116 BEV total (some 21.8%), and being the month’s 2nd overall best selling auto.

Runner up brands in September were BMW and MG Motor.

In 5th spot, Nissan had a good blowout in September. Was this a result clearing old Leaves, or due to the start of significant new Ariya sales? Perhaps a bit of both, but probably mostly the former.

The Cupra Born is doing well, having started UK deliveries just this March, Cupra is now 13th in the longer term brand rankings (below graph), on the strength of just this single model.

The Genesis brand has recently appeared in the UK BEV market, and it will be interesting to see how far they can go. They remain just outside the top 20 for now (in 23rd). Will they be able to take a tow on the tails of the Kia and Hyundai BEVs, that have been so popular in the UK?

Let’s look at the longer term trend:

Tesla is still very strong relative to other BEV brands in the UK, though a bit down from Q1’s share of 24.8%. BMW has climbed inexorably over recent months, from 6th in Q1 to 2nd most recently. This is an impressive performance, owing much to BMW’s wide range of BEV model offerings.

MG meanwhile has also climbed, and is now in 5th. The great-value MG4 is just starting to arrive in the UK, so MG will almost certainly rise further still.

Here are the notable climbers in brand rankings compared to 3 months ago:

  • BMW up from 4th to 2nd
  • MG up from 7th to 5th
  • Mercedes up from 9th to 6th
  • Nissan up from 14th to 9th
  • Mini up from 15th to 12th
  • Cupra up from 21st to 13th
  • Skoda up from 20th to 14th

The following brands dropped rank over the period:

  • Kia fell from 2nd to 7th
  • Vauxhall (Opel) fell from 6th to 11th
  • Fiat fell from 11th to 19th
  • Citroen fell from 12th to 21st
  • Polestar fell from 13th to 17th
  • Porsche fell from 18th to 22nd

Other movements in ranking were minor. Kia’s fall is temporary, mainly due to the recent switch over to the refreshed Niro. September volumes were already high again, so Kia’s trailing 3 month rank will soon recover.

Let’s take a quick look at manufacturing group performance over the latest 3 months compared to the previous 3:

Tesla has regained top rank, from a disappointing 4th at the end of June (following that month’s less-than-usual volumes).

Volkswagen Group, and Hyundai Group, retained their 2nd and 3rd places. The biggest loser was Stellantis, which switched places with Tesla (1st to 4th).

BMW group stayed in 5th, a large margin ahead of both Renault-Nissan, and Mercedes Group.


The UK’s auto industry association has — alongside almost everyone else in the country — called on the government “…for action to shore up consumer confidence”.

Their latest September market report politely notes that “[T]he long-term recovery of the [auto] market also depends on robust consumer confidence and economic stability.” (SMMT, October 2022).

With energy prices at record highs, plugin vehicles can still be charged on overnight cheap rates in the UK (if you contract the right tariff), and thus still give large running-cost savings over combustion vehicles. This will keep plugin demand high for the foreseeable future.

The constraint is not one of demand for BEVs, but supply. There are waiting lists around 12 months long for many BEVs. Combustion vehicles are on average more readily available, juicing their sales (at least until BEV supply is unlocked).

How do you see the UK auto market, and the EV transition, in the months ahead? Please join in the discussion 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, or contact him via LinkedIn.


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