Demand for clean vehicles soars in weakest February for car sales since 1959

One-in-eight registrations last month were for BEVs and PHEVs, a new report shows

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) seem to be the only ‘survivors’ of the weakest February for car sales since 1959.

A new Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) report suggests one-in-eight registrations that took place last month were for BEVs and PHEVs.

During a month when the UK new car market declined by 35.5%, BEVs and PHEVs took a combined 13.0% market share for the month, up from 5.7% in February 2020.

The report also shows sales of diesel and petrol cars fell by 61% and 44% respectively last month.

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

“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.”

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast