The variety of new-car registrations within the UK final month had been the bottom recorded for a February since 1959, regardless of elevated market share for each electrical and plug-in automobiles. Total registrations had been down 35.5%, with diesel dropping 61% versus the identical month in 2020. Electrical-car registrations had been up 40.2%, nevertheless.

February is a notoriously sluggish month for gross sales – largely as a result of new registration plates launching in March every year. Nonetheless, in keeping with the numbers launched by the Society of Motor Producers and Merchants (SMMT), simply 51,312 new automobiles had been registered in February – following what was the slowest begin to the car-sales yr since 1970.

The general dip brought on by widespread showroom closures in lockdown was lessened solely by robust gross sales of electrified automobiles. Gross sales of electrical, hybrid and plug-in hybrid automobiles are up 13% year-on-year, with a market share of 19.2% for a lot of these automobiles.

Final yr, 2,508 pure-electric automobiles had been registered in February, a quantity that had elevated to three,516 in 2021 – regardless of the continued pandemic. Plug-in hybrid automobiles are rising in popularity, too, rising from 2,058 in February 2020 to three,131 in the identical month this yr.

Delicate hybrids (MHEVs) appear to be going a way in the direction of changing purely combustion-engine automobiles, almost certainly because of producers providing the expertise throughout their ranges. A complete of 5,187 had been registered in February, a rise of virtually 57%; complete market share for mild-hybrid petrol fashions now exceeds 10%. Delicate-hybrid diesels’ share greater than doubled from 2.5% to five.4%.

For now, nevertheless, the most important market share nonetheless belongs to purely petrol-powered automobiles, with a 50.6% share yr so far. Diesels are subsequent, with 12.6%, adopted by MHEV petrols (9.9%). Electrical automobiles are the fourth hottest kind of powertrain, with a 6.9% share.

There have been no particularly electrical automobiles within the high sellers listing for February, though various fashions listed can be found with electrical or plug-in hybrid drivetrains. These included the Vauxhall Corsa in second place, the Mercedes A-Class in fourth, the Volvo XC40 in fifth, the Kia Niro (hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electrical) in sixth and the Ford Kuga in ninth. 

The Corsa, XC40, A-Class and Niro all function within the listing of top-selling automobiles year-to-date, alongside the Volkswagen Golf, which is now out there in plug-in hybrid GTE guise.

Electrical, hybrid and plug-in hybrid registrations in 2020

UK new-car registrations dropped to their lowest stage since 1992 in 2020. Total gross sales figures present a 29.4% lower in new-car registrations year-on-year, however the excellent news is that electrical and plug-in hybrid automobiles made up a bigger proportion of automobiles bought than ever earlier than.

Pure-electric gross sales had been up by 185.9% versus 2019, whereas plug-in hybrid gross sales had been up 91.2%. The entire share of the new-car market taken by pure-electric automobiles in 2020 was 6.6%, with 108,205 electrical automobiles bought; plug-in hybrids had a 4.1% market share, with 66,877 new registrations.

Numerous electrical fashions discovered their approach into the listing of high sellers in December 2020, which bodes effectively for the phase going into 2021. The Tesla Mannequin 3 bought strongly by lockdown and was the best-selling automotive in December, adopted by the Volkswagen ID.3 in fourth place.

The Vauxhall Corsa (now out there in pure-electric Corsa-e guise) bought strongly all yr and got here second general for 2020 – though the majority of those could have been conventionally powered. Different fashions within the general high 10 for 2020 additionally out there with electrical or hybrid powertrains embrace the Mercedes A-Class (fifth) and Volvo XC40 (tenth). The Volkswagen Golf (third) is now out there as a plug-in hybrid GTE mannequin.

Elsewhere, pure-hybrid automobiles nonetheless noticed an increase in gross sales regardless of a basic transfer in the direction of plug-in variants by most producers. Complete gross sales had been 100,117, versus 98,237 in 2019 – a 12.1% enhance. This appears a modest enhance when in comparison with the plug-in hybrid determine, nevertheless.

For context, diesel-car registrations fell by a staggering 55% year-on-year, whereas petrol automobiles dropped by 39%. Nonetheless, these figures do not take into consideration the business’s transfer to mild-hybrid (MHEV) expertise: MHEV diesels noticed a 79.6% enhance in registrations, whereas petrol mild-hybrid variants noticed a 184.1% enhance.  

Regardless of some temporary indicators that the UK automotive market was starting to get better from coronavirus-enforced shutdowns, automotive registration numbers general had been down 29.4% by the tip of 2020 – that is 680,076 fewer automobiles than final yr.