September was the best ever month for sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Sales of BEVs reached 32,721 in September 2021, a 49.4% increase on the same month in 2020. These sales figures were, in fact, just over 5,000 off of the total number registered during the whole of 2019. It meant BEV sales represented 15.2% of the market share, surpassing diesel sales for the fourth month in a row.
New car registrations as a whole plummeted in September, falling by 34.4% to 215,312 compared to the year before. This is the weakest September since 1998, with the ongoing shortage of semiconductors impacting vehicle availability.
This year to date, 125,141 BEVs have been sold, an 87.9% increase on the year before. This is also higher than the total number of diesel vehicles sold so far this year (117,605).
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, praised the “rocketing uptake” of BEVs, but said that in order for all drivers to make the switch, “massive investment” in public charging infrastructure is still required.
However, figures from Zap-Map show that two key areas of the UK's public charging infrastructure have grown significantly since the end of 2020. The number of ultra-rapid charging devices in the UK has increased by over 50% since the beginning of year, with there now being over 1,000 ultra-rapid charging devices in the ground alongside 3,750 rapid chargers.
The number of slow chargers has also increased by 66%, from over 3,670 at the end of 2020 to more than 6,100 at the end of September, Zap-Map’s data shows.
Alongside this, the company said that analysis of Google search data reveals that online searches for electric cars in the UK jumped 1,600% on 24th September, when petrol station fuel shortages became widespread across the country.
“While there is still a lot to do by the 2030 deadline, and there needs to be continued focus on shifting the dial to make charging simple for everyone, as more and more people get EVs the focus needs to be not so much on the tech but on the EV driver,” said Melanie Shufflebotham, COO and co-founder of Zap-Map.
Data released by Zap-Map in August showed that there were 25,122 EV chargepoints across 15,875 locations in the UK.