March sees record month for plug-in car sales
Registrations of electric vehicles set new records in March 2018, with more than 9,000 plug-in cars sold during the month. The total of 9,293 electric vehicle sales is 15% up on the previous record, set in March 2017.
March is traditionally a strong sales month for the UK car industry, with a new registration plate seeing a rush for new cars from buyers. The changes in tax regulations from April often see an added incentive over the September new plate rush too.
According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there were almost 3,000 pure-EVs registered last month, a drop of more than 7% compared to March last year. The PHEV market in contrast continues to thrive, with almost 6,400 units registered in March 2018, up 18% vs 2017.
The continued positive performance of the alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) market - of which plug-in cars are joined by hybrid models amongst other fuel types - is in stark contrast to the UK car market overall. Sales of diesel models continue to drag total figures down. Overall sales are down almost 16%, but much of that is accounted for by diesel sales which are down more than 37% compared to last year.
AFVs are up 5.7%, petrol up 0.5%, and plug-in vehicles up 14.9%, but these increases are not enough to offset diesel's decline. Market share for diesel has dropped to less than a third from almost 45% last year, itself a relatively low proportion considering a couple of years ago diesel regularly topped 50%.