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350% spike in sales in December rounds off 'bumper year' for BEVs

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales saw significant growth in 2020, with a 343.7% increase in December 2020.

This is in comparison to December 2019, where BEVs held just 3.3% of the market share, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This soared to a 16.5% share in 2020, with 21,914 cars sold.

Overall in 2020, demand for BEVs grew by 185.9%, with 108,205 cars sold in the year. When combined with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), the majority of the registrations (68%) were for company cars, which the SMMT said shows that private buyers “need stronger incentives to make the switch” as well as more investment in charging infrastructure, in particular on-street charging.

Lucy Simpson, head of EV enablement at Centrica Business Solutions, described the 185% year-on-year increase as “encouraging”, continuing that a “more proactive approach towards sustainability” from business is a major reason for the increase, with fleet operators becoming more convinced of the benefits.

BEVs and PHEVs together accounted for one in ten of the cars sold in the year, up from one in 30 in 2019, with the SMMT describing 2020 as a "bumper year" for the two.

Whilst no BEVs made it into the top ten models of the year, two PHEVs – the Volvo XC40 and the Ford Puma – came in at number 9 and 10 respectively, and with 5,798 sales the Tesla Model 3 came in at the number one spot in December.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said that there is are “record numbers of electrified vehicles” coming onto the market in the next few months, with 35 plug-in models scheduled for 2021, a higher figure than those for both petrol and diesel.

He stated that the SMMT will “work with government to encourage drivers to make the switch”, adding that for the rest of the new car market “we must make 2021 a year of recovery”.

Sales of BEVs consistently broke records in 2020. In April, BEVs took home 31.8% of the market share, with more sold than diesel cars for the first time.

This streak of strong sales continued in June, where sales increased by 261.8% compared to the year prior, as well as in July, which saw a similar figure of 259.4%.

In September BEV sales surpassed 21,000 – a 184.39% increase on 2019 – and October also saw a 195% increase.

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