UK New Car Registrations (SMMT): December 2020: The Future Is Clearly Electric!

electric cars 2020

Simply an incredible year for zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs), as electric driving becomes mainstream! A fantastic way to end 2020 and commence 2021!



Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:


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Before moving onto the latest results i.e. the December 2020 new car registrations update, let us briefly remind ourselves of the November 2020 registrations update. 

SMMT new car registrations November 2020
UK New Car Registrations SMMT November 2020 (credit: SMMT)

November 2020 witnessed a continued increase in the registration of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), despite a continued slowdown in the sales of petrol and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.  

Petrol new car registrations were down by 41.9% in November 2020, compared to November 2019.  Diesel performed worse, with a 56.2% decline. Diesel market share decreased from 23.2% in November 2019 to 14.0% in November 2020. Petrol market share declined from 61.4% to 49.1% in the same period.  

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BEV market share increased from 3.0% in November 2019 to 9.1% in November 2020. PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) also witnessed a similar increase from 2.8% in November 2019 to 6.8% in November 2020.


December 2020 New Car Registrations


The December 2020 new car registrations update from The Society of Motor traders and Manufacturers (SMMT), is a continuation of the trend witnessed throughout 2020 i.e. diesel cars further declining in market share between December 2019 to December 2020 from 22.3% to 11.9%.  

SMMT new car registrations December 2020
UK New Car Registrations SMMT December 2020 (credit: SMMT)

The same is the trend with petrol cars, witnessing a decline from 62.4% to 44.1% between December 2019 to December 2020.   In terms of registrations, diesel registrations have declined by 52.5% in December 2020 compared to December 2019, with petrol registrations decreasing 37.0% in December 2020. 

SMMT new car registrations December 2020
UK New Car Registrations SMMT December 2020 (credit: SMMT)

The overall market is down over 29%, the worst results for 30 years. It has also been the worst performing year since World War Two. 1.63 million new cars were registered in 2020 compared to 2.3 million in 2019. Of course, the ongoing pandemic has had a significant impact on trading activity, given the numerous lockdowns.

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Jump Electric Bike Sharing Scheme (London)

We do believe that all stakeholders, to include households, should challenge their incumbent relationship with mobility. We should aim for developing a UK transportation framework this decade, that reduces the emphasis on personal ownership of vehicles and encourages the use of public transportation, active travel (e-bikes etc) and shared mobility.

We would certainly like to see far fewer cars registered on an annual basis, such that we can reduce the environmental impact and improve air quality across our cities in the UK.

SMMT new car registrations December 2020
UK New Car Registrations SMMT December 2020 (credit: SMMT)

The incredible performance of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) is certainly good news for the UK automotive sector, and also for air quality! 108, 205 pure electric cars were registered in 2020. An increase of 185.9% over the previous year. Similarly, plug-in hybrid cars also performed well with 66,877 cars registered. An increase of 91.2% from the previous year.

SMMT new car registrations December 2020
UK New Car Registrations SMMT December 2020 (credit: SMMT)

Good to note that the all-electric Tesla Model 3 is back on top of the December 2020 Best Sellers list. However, the lack of BEVs and PHEVs on the SMMT year-to-date 2020 Best Sellers list, is a firm reminder that the despite all the progress, the adoption of electric vehicles still requires much work!

With lockdowns still the ‘norm’ as we commence 2021, we can expect a challenging trading environment, at least for the first quarter of 2021, if not longer. In any case, we expect a continued increase in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK in 2021.


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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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