2020 was record year as BEVs achieve 6.6% of UK new car sales

Sun 10 January 2021 View all news

Despite the pandemic and a near-30% fall in UK car sales in 2020, battery electric vehicles achieved a record 6.6% of all sales. Combined with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), more than one-in-ten vehicles sold in the UK in 2020 can be recharged with a plug according to data recently published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

However, 2020 saw a dramatic decline in the overall UK new car market, with sales down almost by a third (-29.4%), accounting for a total turnover loss of £20.4bn. 

Despite the overall decline in car sales, hybrids and EVs saw dramatic increases, with demand for BEVs up 185.9% and PHEVs up by 91.2%. 

Meanwhile, diesel vehicles were down by 55% in 2020 vs 2019, making up only 16% of the market compared with 25.2% in 2019.

The market growth for electric vehicles is being driven, in significant part, by the fall in battery pack prices. An update from BloombergNEF (reported by Business Green) says that battery pack prices have plummeted from $1,100 per kWh in 2010 to $137 per kWh in 2020, powered by soaring EV sales, cheaper materials, and manufacturing and technical innovation.

Lithium-ion battery pack prices have recently, for the first time, dropped under the $100 per kWh threshold widely regarded to be the price point required where electric vehicles (EVs) will be able match the upfront costs of conventional vehicles.

Model availability has also increased dramatically: while only a handful of EVs were on sale in 2011, there are now more than 100 models available in the UK.

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