Electric car sales grow – with 243% growth in February, but market share still remains low.

Electric cars sales grow continuing the trend set in January with monthly YOY growth of 243% in February. This resulted in a market share of 3%, up from 1%, which matched January market share. From a low base of 731 in 2019 sales reached 2,508 in February 2020.

Growth levels in hybrid vehicles remain high with PHEV growing 50% (2058 from 1373) and HEV 72% (4154 from 2417). PHEV market share in February was up to 3% (2%) and HEV 5% (3%).

New entry MHEV vehicle growth remains very high at 468% (1890 from 333) for diesel and 188% (3280 from 1139) for petrol. Market shares are 2% (0%) and 4% (1%). The growth in ‘light hybrids’ is alarming and they are more about boosting power than producing a more environmentally acceptable solution.

Diesel and Petrol sales continued their decline with Diesel down 27% (17,457 from 23,941) and Petrol down 7% (48,247 from 52,035). Market share in Feb was 22% (29%) and 61% (63%) respectively.

Year to date Diesel and Petrol still represent 81% of the market and pure electric vehicles only 3% with the various hybrids totalling 16%. Although the growth numbers make great headlines the overall market share still remains very disappointing with the internal carbon based combustion engine still accounting for 97% of the market.

SMMT Comment

Following this result, the SMMT, which represents the UK’s car makers and dealers, said the fall in registrations was a worry when there was so much focus on the environment. The body called on the government to further encourage drivers into new, low-emission vehicles, rather than persuading them to hold on to older cars.

“Another month of decline for the new car market is especially concerning at a time when fleet renewal is so important in the fight against climate change,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “Next week’s Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to reverse this trend by restoring confidence to the market and show that government is serious about delivering on its environmental ambitions. Industry has invested in the technology, with a huge influx of new zero and ultra-low emission models coming to market in 2020. We now need government to match this with a comprehensive package of incentives and infrastructure spending to accelerate demand.

“To drive the transition to zero-emission motoring, we need carrots, not sticks – as the evidence shows, talk of bans and penalties only means people hang on to their older, more polluting vehicles for longer. It’s time for a change of approach, which means encouraging the consumer to invest in the cleanest new car that best suits their needs. If that is to be electric, government must take bold action to make these vehicles more affordable and as convenient to recharge as their petrol and diesel equivalents are to refuel.”

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