UK EV sales reach second highest total in Q3 2015

Monthly sales of new plug-in cars reached their second highest point ever, with 3,912 registrations in September 2015. This figure is only topped by the 6,100 registrations made during March earlier this year, and brings the total number of plug-in cars registered to more than 43,000.

With just under 4,000 new plug-in cars sold, the traditionally strong September – with its new registration plate that comes in at the beginning of the month – saw plug-in cars take 0.8 per cent of the overall sales total. This is a slight dip from the previous month’s 1.1 per cent of total registrations, but September 2015 saw more than 462,500 new cars sold.

September also saw the total number of new cars registered in 2015 pass the two million mark for the first time at this point in the year since 2004. The overall increase in sales has seen the 43rd consecutive month of growth for the automotive market in the UK according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – the UK’s industry body.

The only downside is that the percentage of plug-in cars registered compared to petrol and diesel models is not increasing as it did so dramatically did during the course of last year. After hitting a height of 1.4 per cent market share in December 2014, the plug-in car market has swung either side of the 1.0 per cent mark throughout 2015 with no real kick-on from the previous twelve months.

Market analysis points to a potential lack of availability of plug-in models coming off the production line, especially in the case of plug-in hybrid cars. There are reports of waiting lists on a number of popular models, such as Volkswagen’s Golf GTE, and the registration figures showing those cars that have actually arrived and been put on the road, rather than orders placed.

The increase in plug-in hybrid models has been dramatic with more than 14,000 sold in 2015 to date – a 226 per cent increase on what was a particularly strong 2014. Part of this has seen the increase in models available, a trend that shows no signs of slowing with a number of new models confirmed for sale in the UK in the coming months.

The proportion of diesel models sold in September has not been significantly hit by the VW Group emissions scandal that unfolded towards the end of the month, with diesel powered cars accounting for 46 per cent of all cars sold during the month. We will have an indication with October’s registration figures next month as to whether the continuing investigation into rigged diesel emissions figures will have an influence on new car buyers.

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