Pure EV sales in reverse12 Mar 2018

Battery-powered car sales falling at start of year

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that in the first two months of 2018, 990 pure battery-powered cars were sold in the UK. This is 34% lower than the 1,493 sold in the same period of 2017.

However, there was in increase in the number of plug-in hybrids being sold. Up from 2,751 in January and February 2017 to 3,878 in the same two months in 2018.

Responding to the sales figures Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Even though some car buyers will be waiting for the new March number plate, the fall-off in sales of pure electric vehicles year-on-year is much sharper that the decline in the total for new car registrations.

“These figures suggest that consumers are still worried about the 4 R’s that we see holding back the pure-electric market: retail price, range limitation, recharging availability and uncertain residual value.

“Until more affordable models come to market with a longer range, and more is done to make recharging less of a headache, it is hard to see how the picture is really going to change.”

Analysis of official data by the RAC Foundation shows that The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV remains the most common plug-in car grant eligible vehicle on the road followed by the Nissan Leaf:

Of all the plug-in car grant eligible vehicles on the road, 60% are plug-in hybrids:

According to the SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes, the low sales reflected “consumer concerns around charging infrastructure availability and affordability”.

He added: “If zero-emission vehicles are to become mainstream in future, long-term government support with a consistent approach to incentives and tax, and greater investment in charging infrastructure will be critical.



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

All the Foundation’s work is available on its website. A range of interactive and embeddable fuel data charts are available in the data section of the website: