This June 2020 photo shows a Tesla Model 3 parked and charged in central London.
William Barton | iStock Editorial | Getty Images
New car sales in the UK fell nearly 30% in 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic and forced showroom closings weighing on demand.
Figures released on Wednesday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that new registrations totaled 1,631,064 last year, down from 680,076 from 2019 and the lowest number since 1992.
While the overall market suffered, electric cars still managed to enjoy what the SMMT called their “best year ever”.
The demand from road users for battery-electric vehicles rose in 2020 by 185.9% to 108,205 new registrations. Sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles rose by 91.2% to 66,877.
The SMMT said that battery-powered and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles “accounted for more than one in ten registrations – out of about one in 30 in 2019”.
According to the industry group, UK consumers can now choose from over 100 plug-in car models. Manufacturers are expected to “bring more than 35 onto the market in 2021 – more than the number of new petrol or diesel models planned for the year.” “”
However, work still needs to be done to ensure that electric vehicles can compete with and compete with models based on the internal combustion engine. Although gas-powered car sales declined 39% last year, they still had a 55.4% market share, while the diesel car market share was 16%.
The best-selling car in 2020 was the Ford Fiesta, but in a small sign of how the market might change in the years to come, the Tesla Model 3 – an electric vehicle – was the most popular car in December.
The UK numbers come after auto sales data for Norway was released. On Tuesday, Reuters, citing the Norwegian Roads Association, reported that battery electric vehicles accounted for 54.3% of all new car sales in Norway last year. This is a global record.
As concerns about air pollution and its effects on health and the environment grow, modes of transport are starting to change. In recent years, a number of governments around the world have set new targets for low and zero emission vehicles.
Towards the end of last year, the UK announced plans Stop selling new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030While Norway wants all new vans and passenger cars to be sold emission-free by 2025, Denmark has proposed phasing out sales of new diesel and gasoline vehicles in 2030.
One challenge with the adoption of electric vehicles concerns the charging infrastructure that is required to keep them on the road. Efforts are currently being made to remedy the situation. The UK’s first forecourt is dedicated to EV charging Opening last month.
In a statement released Wednesday, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said, “With manufacturers launching record numbers of electric vehicles in the coming months, we will work with the government to encourage drivers to make the switch and.” promote investments in our vehicles at the same time. ” world-famous production base – charging market, industry and economy. “