Article By Richard Aucock

New EVs outsell diesel as UK shifts to electric

Electrified new cars outsold diesel models in February 2021 as the switch to EVs gathers pace

Electrified new cars proved more popular than traditional diesel-engined models in February 2021, new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show.

A combination of pure electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid new cars took almost 1 in 5 new car sales during the month – ahead of diesel and mild hybrid diesel cars.

The decline of traditional diesel cars continued, with a 61% plunge in registrations during February alone.

Pure electric cars, in contrast, grew 40% and plug-in hybrids were up 52%.

A car that is only available in electrified form, the Kia Niro, took sixth place in the sales – and an Kia spokesperson told JGEV that around 50% of these sales were of the pure electric e-Niro model.

Overall, February registrations were down 35.5% on 2020, as dealer showrooms remain closed due to the pandemic.

However, industry commentators are pointing to significant pent-up demand in the marketplace and say ‘April could be the new March’ when showrooms reopen on 12 April.

“February is traditionally a small month for car registrations and with showrooms closed for the duration, the decline is deeply disappointing but expected,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“More concerning, however, is that these closures have stifled dealers’ preparations for March with the expectation that this will now be a third, successive dismal ‘new plate month’.

“Although we have a pathway out of restrictions with rapid vaccine rollout, and proven experience in operating click and collect, it is essential that showrooms reopen as soon as possible so the industry can start to build back better, and recover the £23 billion loss from the past year.”

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