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Tesla Model 3 the UK’s best-selling car overall in December 2020

In December 2019, plugin electric vehicles (PEVs) made up 6.6% of the UK market share. In December 2020, PEVs made up 23.4% of the market share. That’s a huge jump in just one year for PEV sales in the UK.

And the Tesla Model 3 was the UK’s best selling auto overall in the last month of 2020, at 5,798 vehicles.

The UK electric vehicle market sales in December 2020 are as follows:

Battery electric vehicles21,91416.5%
Plugin hybrid electric vehicles9,1086.9%
Source: SMMT

Overall, plugin electric vehicles sales increased from 2019’s 72,834 to 175,082 in 2020, a growth of 140%.

2020 may not have been the best year in the UK, or anywhere, for that matter, but it was the best year ever for electric cars, with battery and plug-in hybrid vehicles market share up to 10.7%.

Tesla Model 3 in the UK is No. 1

The best-selling BEV was the Tesla Model 3 in December, with 5,798 sold. The Volkswagen ID.3 came in fourth, at 3,188. (Nos. 2 and 3 were ICE models, the VW Golf and the Ford Fiesta.)

For the whole of 2020, the Tesla Model 3 took the UK’s top BEV spot, with the Nissan LEAF coming in second. Clean Technica reports:

The third position was likely a close fight between the Renault ZOE and the incoming Volkswagen ID.3, with the Kia Niro not far behind.

Other popular BEV models in 2020 were (in order); the Jaguar I-Pace, MG ZS, Audi e-tron, and BMW i3, each with at least ~5,000 annual sales.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) writes:

More than 100 plug-in car models are now available to UK buyers, and manufacturers are scheduled to bring more than 35 to market in 2021 – more than the number of either petrol or diesel new models planned for the year. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said:

With manufacturers bringing record numbers of electrified vehicles to market over the coming months, we will work with government to encourage drivers to make the switch, while promoting investment in our globally renowned manufacturing base – recharging the market, industry and economy.

Electrek’s Take

As we’ve previously reported, the UK will end the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and vans by 2030, 10 years earlier than what was originally announced in October 2018. However, the British government will allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans until 2035.

The UK has also put a number of incentives in place for car buyers, manufacturers, charge points, and battery production. So this time next year, we expect to see the numbers jump on a massive scale, despite the pandemic. And hey – gas is expensive in the UK. Between gas costs, incentives, growing numbers of charge points, looming government requirements, and reducing pollution, going electric is inevitable in Britain.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.