British motorists may be starting to take electric cars seriously, according to recent figures. In 2021, pure electric vehicles accounted for one in nine sales, with more registered last year than the previous five years combined – according to statistics released in January by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
More than 190,000 new electric vehicles were registered last year – which was a record. Almost 115,000 new plug-in hybrids joined the roads in 2021 too – meaning that 19% of all newly registered cars could be plugged in.
A further 150,000 hybrid electric vehicles were registered – 9% of the market share – meaning that 28% of the total market was electrified in some form. The share for diesel cars, on the other hand, was down to just 14% – from 44 % in 2017.
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Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said 2021 had been a ‘desperately disappointing year’ for the car industry as the impact of the Covid pandemic continued to overshadow any recovery. He added that the ‘undeniable bright spot’ was the growth in electric car uptake.
This weekend reports suggested that Toyota could leave the UK and close down its plants in Burnaston, Derbyshire, and Deeside, North Wales, unless the Government slows down its proposed switch to electric vehicles. Toyota has since said there were no ‘imminent investment decisions regarding local manufacturing’.
But electric vehicles are clearly on the rise. Here are the top five most popular electric cars in the UK in 2021…
1 Tesla Model 3 – 34,783 registrations
This is the most affordable model in the Tesla range. Incredibly, as well as being the most popular electric vehicle, it was the second biggest-selling car in the UK overall, just behind the Vauxhall Corsa.
2 Kia e-Niro – 12,271 registrations
This is considered to be one of the best electric cars on the market – with strong performance and refinement. It also claims an impressive range of 282 miles.
3 Volkswagen ID.3 – 11,032 registrations
This is described as an accomplished all-electric family hatchback. Its competitive price, good looks and comfort levels make it an attractive package for buyers.
4 Nissan Leaf – 9,052 registrations
This is a compact, five-door hatchback which is described as smart-looking with a punchy performance. Its range on a full charge is said to be 226 miles.
5 Audi E-tron – 7,396 registrations
Audi says that this car is perfect for long journeys, with a maximum range of up to 252 miles. Its two electric motors accelerate this SUV from 0 to 62mph in 5.7 seconds.