Electric vehicle sales surge in UK, petrol engines slump and drop 10%

Tesla Model S
Electric vehicle registrations in the United Kingdom have exploded, increasing over 88% in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2020. While battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales surged, petrol and diesel engine sales collapsed by 10 and 31.4%, respectively, proving car buyers in the UK are becoming more attracted to sustainable powertrains compared to the gas-powered vehicles that have dominated the automotive industry for over 100 years.

So far this year, BEV sales have topped out at 31,779 vehicles in the UK through the first quarter of 2021, a 74.1% increase compared to last year’s figure of 18,256 cars in the same period. BEVs have increased their market share to 7.5% of all automotive sales so far this year, up from just 3.8% last year.



Credit: SMMT

A significant portion of the UK’s BEV sales occurred in March, as 22,003 vehicles fitting the category were sold to car buyers during the month. Of the 31,779 vehicles that were sold in Q1 2021, just over 69% of them were sold in March alone, proving to be the sector’s most successful month of the new year.

On top of the encouraging BEV sales figures, a complimenting figure also emerged thanks to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): the falling sales figures of gas and diesel-powered engines. Diesel-powered engine sales dropped 31.4% in March 2021 compared to March 2020, and the market share has sunk from 17.6% to 10.8%. Petrol engines dropped 10% exactly in March 2021 compared to the same month a year earlier, with the overall market share dropping nearly 12% from 60% to 48.8%.

European-based brands like Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz led the overall sales figures. Tesla, the world’s leading BEV manufacturer, was not included on the list of brands. However, the company is coming off of an impressive quarter where it delivered 184,800 vehicles in Q1, fueled almost exclusively by sales of the Model 3 and Model Y. The Model 3 was the fourth-best seller in the UK in March, as 6,585 units were delivered to customers. Tesla has its upcoming European production facilitynearing completion, boding well for the company as encouraging figures relating to BEV sales are coming out of the UK and Europe.



With more automotive consumers choosing to drive electric cars, it is becoming more evident that manufacturers will be forced to adapt to the changing market conditions. Several large manufacturers like Volkswagen and Ford are committed to a future with EVs. The growth shown in the sector indicates a momentous BEV sector that shows no sign of slowing down, and consumers realize the advantages of driving sustainable vehicles.

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