Across the UK, an electric vehicle was registered once every 180 seconds, according to campaign group, Go Ultra Low.
The news means 175,082 plug-in vehicles were registered in the UK throughout 2020 – up 140% on 2019 figures, and the ninth consecutive year of growth overall, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
One in 10 cars registered in the UK last year was electric with the Tesla Model 3 being the UK’s best-selling fully electric model and the BMW 3 Series topping the charts for the best-selling plug-in hybrid.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) place the total number of new, fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars registered last year at 175,082. Despite an overall reduction in new car demand that was largely due to enforced showroom closures, the EV market had its best performing year-to-date.
Across 2020, 108,205 fully electric vehicles were registered, up 185% year-on-year. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid registrations rose by 91%, amassing 66,877 units. This means the total number of electric and plug-in hybrid cars registered in the UK is fast approaching the half-a-million mark (409,330).
The ninth year of consecutive growth for the EV market was in part driven by a significant increase in models for consumers and businesses to choose from. This increase in choice has also been accompanied by a number of supportive policy measures, including the extended commitment of the Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) that offers £3000 off a fully electric car costing less than £50,000, plus changes to Benefit-in-Kind taxation, which was reduced to 0% for zero emission vehicles in April last year.
Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “The increase in uptake of EVs never ceases to impress me. While there were less than a handful of EVs to choose from in 2011, there are now more than 100 models available and for the first time ever, manufacturers are scheduled to bring more brand-new EVs to market than either petrol or diesel models. 2020 really was just the start of the electric revolution, and we’re looking forward to helping even more consumers and businesses begin their EV journey.”
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “In what has been a difficult year for the wider car market, it’s encouraging to see that EV sales have dramatically increased over the year.”