UK Plugin EV Share Shrinks In July, BEVs Still Growing

The UK car market saw plug-in electric vehicles take a 16.7% share in July, down from 17.1% year-on-year. The BEV share grew, but not enough to offset the lower share of PHEVs. Total car volumes fell 9% year-on-year to 112,162, the lowest July in over 16 years. Hyundai was the leading brand in UK BEV sales in July.

July’s combined plug-in result of 16.7% included 10.9% battery electrics (BEVs) and 5.8% plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). This compares with 9% and 8% respectively a year ago.

The YTD result for plugins now stands at 20.3% share (14.0% BEV) from 14.8% (8.2% BEV) YoY. So BEVs are still growing well, but PHEVs are generally declining. BEV amounts has grown by around 50% YTD against an overall car market that has declined by 11.5% in volume.

Diesel-only volumes fell 21% year-on-year to 6,210 units, near their record low. Only gasoline fell in volume by 8% year-on-year.

The UK’s best BEV brands

Tesla – in the low ebb of its quarterly shipment schedule to Europe – was almost entirely absent from the UK in July.

This gave other brands a chance to shine in the UK, with Hyundai, Volkswagen and Audi taking the top 3 spots.

Cupra continued to increase supply of Born into UK with 38% higher volume than its previous peak in June, allowing the brand to climb up the monthly charts from 17th to 6th.

Most other leading brands had a decrease in monthly volume, but did not see significant changes in ranking compared to last month.

Let’s step back to look at the bigger picture of the 3-month trailing results:

Still buoyed by a strong June, Tesla continues to lead the long-term UK brand rankings, despite July’s relative absence. A few brands had nice increases in the May-July period compared to 3 months earlier (February-April):

Most others remained fairly stable, but a few brands dropped down the rankings:

Let’s also take a brief look at movements among the leading BEV production groups:

Compared to 3 months ago, the biggest move is Tesla’s drop from 1st to 4th place. We know that most of the decline was due to production breaks in the 1st half of the year in Shanghai, where the majority of Europe’s supply is still made. Tesla should recover by the end of 3. quarter and increase all European volumes from there thanks to the Berlin ramp.

VW Group moved from 3rd to 1st and Hyundai Motor Group remained in 2nd place. Stellantis rose one place to 3rd and BMW Group remained in 5th place. Outside the top 5, the only significant move was Mercedes, who dropped 2 places to 8th.


The British Automobile Industry Association, the SMMThad this to say about July’s results:

“Ongoing global supply chain issues, predominantly semiconductor shortages, continued to frustrate order fulfilment, exacerbated by Covid lockdowns at key manufacturing and logistics centers in China, plus disruption from the war in Ukraine, all of which limited production and therefore supply to the UK market for new cars.” (SMMT).

No mention here that Britain has experienced the highest inflation since the 1970s, largely caused by energy and food supply problems. This creates economic uncertainty and dampens consumer confidence as well as the noted effects on supply chains.

Plugins retain the advantage of much lower fuel costs than other powertrains, and thus will continue to be relatively attractive (to the declining number of people in the market for a new vehicle). It is hard to say what is behind the decline in PHEV sales and share (across Europe); whether due to supply or demand.

However, BEVs are still growing at a decent clip in both volume and share. There is also still a long backlog for the most popular BEVs, which will keep their sales going in the coming months to the extent that disrupted supply chains can keep up.

What are your thoughts on the UK car market in the coming months and years? Please join the discussion in the comments section below.


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