UK New Car Registrations (SMMT): July 2020: Electric Cars Continue To Remain The Winners With An Increase Of 260%!


As We Progress With The Second Half Of This Unprecedented Year, Despite The Overall Unpredictability, The Updates On The New Car Registrations Continue To Remain Predictable: Electric Vehicles Continue To Defy The Downward Trend! 

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 July 2020 new car registration update, let us briefly remind ourselves of the June 2020 registrations update. 

smmt new car registration
Car Registrations: June 2020 (credit: SMMT)
Car Registrations: June 2020 SMMT
Car Registrations: June 2020 (credit: SMMT)

June 2020 witnessed a continued increase in the registration of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), despite a significant contraction in the sales of petrol and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.  Petrol new car registrations were down by 39.9% in June 2020, compared to June 2019.  Diesel performed even worse, with a 59.8% decline.  Of greater consequence is the significant change in market share for internal combustion engine cars.  Diesel market share decreased from 25.6% to 15.8% between June 2019 and June 2020. Petrol market share declined from 65.6% to 60.5% in the same period.  

Despite the overall challenging macro economic environment, due to the impact of Coronavirus, electric vehicles, in particular, all-electric battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have demonstrated incredible resilience.  The reasons are many, but one key factor is fast emerging as a core driver for their success.  Pure electric cars, with the benefit of zero tailpipe emissions, are fast becoming the consumer favourite technology for mobility i.e. e-mobility.   The increased awareness of the harmful consequences of air pollution and climate change, have now become everyday topics of discussion at homes across the country.  Households are keen to do their part in creating a better environment and in turn, a better society in the UK. 

In fact, in July 2020, the latest new car registration update from The Society of Motor traders and Manufacturers (SMMT),  demonstrates once again this fundamental shift in consumer attitudes.   Diesel cars have seen a further decline in market share between July 2019 to July 2020 from 24.7% to 16.5%.  The same is the trend with petrol cars, witnessing a decline from 64.3%% to 58% between July 2019 to July 2020.   In terms of registrations, diesel registrations have declined by 25.9% in July 2020 compared to July 2019, with petrol registrations increasing slightly by 0.3% in July 2020. 

Car Registrations: July 2020 (credit: SMMT)
Car Registrations: July 2020 (credit: SMMT)

But in stark contrast registrations of battery-electric vehicles have increased an impressive 259.4% in July 2020, compared to July 2019.  Moreover, BEVs have seen a further increase in market share in July 2020 (4.7%) compared to July 2019 (1.4%).  Year-to-date market share for BEVs now stand at 4.7% compared to 1% a year ago.  Interestingly, July 2020 has witnessed a significant increase in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), increasing by 320.3% in July 2020 compared to July 2019. PHEV market share now stands at 4.3%. Year-to-date new car registrations remains down by 41.9% across all technology types.

Ashvin Suri, Founder e-zoomed (£5 to charge an EV)

We expect this trend to continue, as consumers seek ‘active travel’ as a preferred choice of travel, to include electric bikes and electric scooters.  Moreover, given the broader challenges to the UK economy, we expect consumers to remain less confident of making large purchase decisions, like cars.  Consumers that do make such decisions will continue to favour mobility solutions with a better impact on the environment.  

world EV day
World EV Day 2020

So bottom-line, the first 6 months of 2020 new car registrations, will be reflected in the next 6 months of 2020.    More electric cars and fewer internal combustion engine cars! A perfect scenario for the fast approaching World EV Day.


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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