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New Registrations of All-Electric Cars up 144% in the UK

SMMT has just released new car registration data for 2019 and the results speak for themselves: UK drivers are ditching diesel (down 21.8% from 2018 to 2019) and embracing electric (up 21% from 2018 to 2019). Overall, new car registrations rose in 2019, up 7.3% from over the same time period. We've looked through the data to understand the changing trends amongst UK drivers.

Diesel in Decline, Electric on the Rise

The confusing state of affairs for diesel cars—potential for an outright ban, tax rises, parking surcharges and toxicity charges for driving in some cities, falling resale values—is certainly having an impact on new diesel sales. This once-loved category is in steady decline, with 21.8% fewer new cars registered in 2019 than in 2018.

In contrast, the electric car category continues to grow, up 20.6% from 2018 to 2019.

Car Type20182019% Change
Electric (plug-in and hybrid)141,270170,43420.6%

More Drivers Choose Electric Cars

While the EV market is clearly strong, there is one segment of the EV market that's really on fire: Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV). Last year, the UK market witnessed a 144% increase in sales of BEVs, driven by an expansion of the charging network, consumer awareness of the environmental and health dangers of traditional combustion engines, the diesel ban and an influx of new BEV products.

New EV Car Registrations UK201720182019% Change, 2018-2019
Battery EV13,59715,51037,850144%
Plug-in hybrid EV35,58542,23234,734-18%
Hybrid EV67,67683,52897,85017%
chart showing increase in new car registrations for electric cars
Electric Cars: Increase in New Car Registrations

Pure Electric Cars—What's the Hype?

While more and more Brits are buying new, pure electric cars, they are still not mainstream. Many drivers are still wary of the range of electric cars and worry about running out of charge. With the potential for the average driver to save over £6,000 in running costs over five years with an electric car vs. a petrol car, as well as environmental concerns, we expect the electric car market to continue its rise in popularity.


In 2019, there were 37,850 new all-electric cars registered in the UK, up 144% from the previous year. Including plug in cars, there were 170,434 EVs registered in the UK in 2019, up 21% from 2018.