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Battery electric cars overtake plug-in hybrids for the first time

More Battery Electric Cars than Plug-in Hybrids

For the first time, the number of battery electric vehicles (BEV) on UK roads has overtaken the total number of plug-in hybrid cars (PHEV), which means the UK is making good progress to the transition to zero-emission driving. When we first started looking at electric vehicles, hybrid options felt safer for many drivers. But now, the reliability and pricing are such that 50.4% of all plug-in vehicles on UK roads are BEVs. At this point last year, the figure was just 46.3%, so it is a good increase.

With the continued rise of fuel pricing and the delivery and supply problems, it is now thought that up to 3 in 10 drivers are looking to switch their vehicles to something greener. As a result, an extra 32,721 battery electric vehicles were sold in September, making this the highest ever month on record. The estimated total of battery electric vehicles on UK roads is now estimated to be 332,299; in contrast, there are 327,183 plug-in hybrids currently on the road.

A Long Road

Although this sounds incredibly promising for a greener future, battery electric vehicles still only account for one per cent of the total vehicle numbers on our roads. Nevertheless, we are on target to see 175,000 added to the streets this year. Still, battery electric vehicles have been hampered by an international shortage of semiconductors which sadly affected supply from several manufacturers.

Conversely, monthly new diesel car sales have fallen to just 13,067 this year which is massively down from the 48,481 sold in 2019. Petrol cars were also down in 2019; we saw an average of 123,534 being sold each month, the figures for 2021 showed just 69,066 sold each month.

The RAC Report

The RAC has been studying the trends, and they also confirm that plug-in hybrid vehicles are losing popularity. Initially, they were the first choice for drivers who wanted to change from petrol and diesel engines, but now many are jumping straight to battery electric vehicles. This report has been put together after they surveyed 2400 drivers and analysed a report already circulating by the society of motor manufacturers and traders.

Without a doubt, this is good news, with September branded a milestone month for electric vehicles. Figures tend to focus on the new car market, so this doesn't consider second-hand cars. With every new diesel car sold, three battery-electric cars have also been added to our roads. In fact, diesel car sales have dropped by 86% over the last two years meaning they are well on their way to extinction.

Source: Smart Transport, RAC