In 2021, Tesla’s Model 3 all-electric sedan undoubtedly lead the United Kingdom to what the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) called “the most successful year in history for electric vehicle uptake.” The sedan, which was the Austin, Texas-based company’s first mass-market car, was the best-selling EV in the highly competitive market, but more impressively, it was the second-best-selling vehicle overall, only trailing the Corsa from Vauxhall, which has been built since 1982.
New data from the United Kingdom’s SMMT shows that the Model 3 was the best-selling new car in December 2021, with 9,612 units making their way to customers. It was considerably more than a MINI, the second-best-seller for the final month of the year with 4,625 cars delivered. For the year, the Model 3 finished second with 34,783 units. Only the Vauxhall Corsa sold more for 2021, with 40,914 cars.
The overall UK automotive market sunk over 28.5 percent in 2021, with the SMMT attributing the COVID-19 pandemic and semiconductor shortages to the decrease in consumerism in the sector. However, the good news seemed to indicate that EVs are steadily becoming a more mainstream form of passenger transportation for consumers. SMMT said 2021 was the EV industry’s most successful yet due to adoption rates alone:
“There was some good news, however, with 2021 the most successful year in history for electric vehicle uptake as more new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered than over the previous five years combined.3 190,727 new BEVs joined Britain’s roads, along with 114,554 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), meaning 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021 can be plugged in. This is in addition to the 147,246 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) registered which took a further 8.9% market share in a bumper year for electrified car registrations, with 27.5% of the total market now electrified in some form.”
While the statistics above do include hybrid vehicles, over 190,000 new BEVs hit the road in the UK last year, which is encouraging. With automakers funneling more time and capital into their electrification projects, there is evidence that consumers are beginning to shift in that direction when choosing new vehicles. In 2020, BEVs only accounted for 108,205 total sales. This represents a 76.3 percent increase in consumer purchases of BEVs. 2021’s figures of 190,727 units were enough to increase the overall market share by 5 percent, bringing the overall total to 11.6 percent for the UK market.
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