Almost 7% of car market now pure EVs

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) are now fast approaching 1 in 10 of all vehicles sold as the overall low and zero emission market continued to grow.

According to the latest figures for January 2021 sales from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, BEV uptake grew by 54.4% to take 6.9% of the market, as the number of available models almost doubled from 22 in January 2019 to 40 this year. Combined, BEVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) accounted for 13.7% of registrations.

The news continues 2020 growth trends in ultra-low emission vehicles. It follows SMMT analysis that shows last year saw the largest fall in average car CO2 emissions with more than half of all BEVs registered in the past two decades registered in 2020 alone. Combined with ongoing improvements to petrol and diesel engines, average vehicle CO2 dropped to 112.8g/km – a reduction of -11.8% compared to 2019 and -37.7% compared to 2000.

While all classes of car have reduced emissions by at least a third since 2000, one of the biggest reductions was achieved in dual purpose cars (-48.8%), aided by increased availability of BEV and other low emission models. Around 30% of dual purpose vehicles are now zero emission-capable, demonstrating their vital role in helping to reduce overall CO2 emissions.

This positive news was against an overall market collapse of -39.5% in January with 59,030 fewer registrations compared to the same month last year. Just 90,249 cars were registered as showrooms across the country remained shut, leading to the worst start to the year since 1970.

Demand remained depressed for both private buyers (-38.5%) and large fleets (-39.7%). Declines were also recorded in both petrol and diesel cars registrations, which fell by -62.1% and -50.6% respectively. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Following a £20.4 billion loss of revenue last year, the auto industry faces a difficult start to 2021. The necessary lockdown will challenge society, the economy and our industry’s ability to move quickly towards our ambitious environmental goals.

“Lifting the shutters will secure jobs, stimulate the essential demand that supports our manufacturing, and will enable us to forge ahead on the Road to Zero. Every day that showrooms can safely open will matter, especially with the critical month of March looming.”

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