Battery Electric Vehicles go Mainstream

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (“SMMT”), the UK motor industry’s trade body, has just published its new car registration data for December 2021.

New car registration volumes have fallen, by dint of the pandemic and supply constraints arising from the worldwide semiconductor chip shortage, but the key headline remains the continuing growth in market share for Battery Electric Vehicles (“BEV”).

BEV market share has climbed steadily from 1% in June 2019 when it was first separately reported, through 3% by early 2020 to around 7% by late 2020.

The first half of 2021 saw modest growth to 10% in June, since when market share has climbed continuously, passing 15% in September, reaching almost 19% in November, and closing the year at 25.5% (over one in four new car sales being BEV).

In contrast, growth in market share for Plug-In Hybrids (“PHEV”) & Hybrids (“HEV”) has been more pedestrian.

PHEV market share climbed from 1% to over 6% in the first eighteen months of SMMT reporting but has added barely 1% in the fifteen months since, achieving 7.7% in December 2021.

HEV market share exhibits a similar profile rising from 4% in June 2019 to 7% by June 2020 but appearing to stall thereafter closing at 8.0% in December 2021.

If EVs overall are the winners, the losers are clearly Internal Combustion Engine (ICE”) cars.

Petrol (including mild hybrids) market share has fallen over the past thirty months by 17% from 67% to 50.4% in December 2021. This has been matched by Diesel (again including mild hybrids) which has declined by 19% from 27% to 8.4% in the same period.

This means that BEV market share (25.5%) is now already half that of Petrol and remarkably three times that of Diesel.

BEV’s move from niche to mainstream is further reflected in the fact that the top ten bestselling models for 2021 were produced by ten different manufacturers, and top selling BEV – the Tesla Model 3 – was the second bestselling car for the year of any type beating all but the Vauxhall Corsa.

Regardless as to how long the impact of the pandemic and semiconductor shortage remain with us, the rise in BEV market share appears set to continue.