The UK's electric vehicle market continued its now familiar growth in April, with more than 3,800 plug-in cars registered in April 2018 - representing 2.3% of the total UK car market.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the figure sees electric vehicles far outstrip growth in other areas of the UK car market, with total plug-in registrations up 42% compared to last year. By comparison, the overall car market had a strong month in April 2018, but grew 10%.
Of the combined electric vehicle registrations, more than 900 units were pure-electric models, and almost 3,000 were PHEVs. The ratio sees PHEVs account for three out of every four plug-in cars registered in April 2018.
In 2018 to date, there have already been almost 18,000 electric vehicles registered, making up 2.0% of the overall car market for the first four months of the year. The rolling 12-month total is almost 50,500 registrations, indicating that 2018 is already ahead of 2017's total of just over 47,000 units.
The first four months of 2017 saw almost 14,700 plug-in cars registered.
PHEV registrations are up 28% for 2018 to date compared to 2017, as the popularity of the powertrain type shows no sign of slowing down yet. With new models regularly coming to market, it is expected that PHEVs will continue to make up the bulk of UK plug-in sales for the next year or so at least.
By contrast, pure-EV registrations are -9.0% for the year to date. Although there is plenty of time for that figure to be turned around, the pure-electric market needs a boost to pick up growth again. With a number of new and important models coming to market recently and in the year to come, forecasts are optimistic that the pure-EV market will have grown by the end of the year.
Models eligible for the UK's Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) accounted for 94.5% of total plug-in registrations for April 2018. For the year to date, the figure is 92%, though most available electric vehicles don't qualify for the UK PiCG on grounds of price, rather than failing to meet electric range or CO2 emissions criteria.
The overall UK car market reflects continued buying trends over the last year or so, with diesel sales still in significant decline. The 51,000 diesel registrations during April 2018 is down 25% from last year's figure despite the UK car market up 10% over 2017, and the total represented just 30% of the market. That's compared to last year's 45% market share for diesel, a figure already indicating diesel's fall from grace amongst UK car buyers.
Petrol registrations are the biggest overall benefactor of diesel's slump, with more than 107,000 units sold in April 2018. That represents an increase of almost 40% over last year, which though is slightly less than EV's growth, petrol now represents a market share of 64%, compared to last year's 51% share and EV's April 2018 figure of 2.3%.
Alternatively fuelled vehicles continue to pick up sales and increase market share too. With more than 9,000 registrations last month, the sector has seen an increase of almost 50% over 2017, and has moved from a 4.1% market share to 5.6%. The grouping of alternatively fuelled models includes pure-EVs, PHEVs, and conventional hybrids for the majority of models.
In fact conventional hybrid models have had the greatest percentage increase compared to last month, with growth of almost 60% in April 2018. Almost 5,433 petrol-hybrid cars were registered, by far the dominant hybrid powertrain type considering diesel-hybrid registrations accounted for less than 50 units last month.