September 2021 was the best month ever for new battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
With a market share of 15.2%, there were 32,721 new BEV registrations in the month reflecting a growing consumer appetite.
This was just 5,000 shy of the total number registered during the whole of 2019.
The market share of plug-in hybrids (PHEV) also grew to 6.4% last month, which means that more than one in five new cars registered were zero-emission capable.
Similarly, the market share of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) increased from 8.0% in 2020 to 11.6% in September 2021, with 24,961 added to the road.
Despite the growth in electric vehicles, however, the new UK car market recorded its weakest September since 1998.
An ongoing shortage of semiconductors impacting vehicle availability meant that just 215,312 cars were registered, which is a fall of -34.4% compared to September 2020.
September is typically the second busiest month of the year, but the 2021 performance was down -44.7% on the pre-pandemic ten-year average.
However, one car had no problems with delivery, and that was the Tesla Model 3, which was the bestselling car across all fuel types in September. With 6,879 units sold, the Tesla Model 3 was way ahead of the second-placed Vauxhall Corsa, with 5,235 units.
In terms of market segmentation, private demand was down -25.3% with 120,560 new registrations in the month, but large fleets recorded a bigger fall of -43.1% to 90,445 units. Last month’s performance means that year-to-date registrations are now only 5.9% ahead of 2020 figures.
Mike Hawes, chief executive at SMMT, said: “This is a desperately disappointing September and further evidence of the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic on the sector. Despite strong demand for new vehicles over the summer, three successive months have been hit by stalled supply due to reduced semiconductor availability, especially from Asia.”
Mr Hawes added: “Despite these challenges, the rocketing uptake of plug-in vehicles, especially battery electric cars, demonstrates the increasing demand for these new technologies. However, to meet our collective decarbonisation ambitions, we need to ensure all drivers can make the switch – not just those with private driveways – requiring a massive investment in public recharging infrastructure.”