Article By Richard Aucock

UK becomes Europe's second-largest EV market

Britain has overtaken France to become the second largest market for new EVs so far in 2021, second only to Germany

More new EVs have been sold in Britain so far in 2021 than any other country in Europe apart from Germany, new figures reveal.

Almost 32,000 EVs were registered here in the first three months of 2021 – which takes the UK above France in the EU EV league table.

Britain’s booming EV sales mean battery electric vehicles comprise 7.5% of the new car market, double the market share of just one year ago.

Independent analyst Matthias Schmidt, who compiled the figures, expects the UK to hold on to its number 2 position for the rest of the year, too.

The recent cut to the Plug-in Car Grant may be helping drive the uptake of EVs, he added: BMW is the latest manufacturer to lower prices of its i3 EV range to qualify for the £2,500 cash grant.

Germany is set to remain the clear leader for European EV sales, though – thanks to extremely generous subsidies that were doubled from an already-impressive level in the summer of 2020.

Almost 65,000 EVs have been sold in Germany so far in 2021.

Mr Schmidt said 2021 is a ‘make or break’ year for EVs in the UK, as the country must comply with post-Brexit emissions limits alone.

Previously, sales of higher-emitting vehicles in the UK could be balanced by demand for cheaper, cleaner models sold in other countries: 2021 is the first year in which UK emissions limits are counted in isolation.

Car manufacturers who fail to meet the CO2 targets face hefty fines for every new car sold – which is why the focus is increasingly on driving sales of zero-CO2 EVs.

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