My Urban Car

MyUrbanCar tipping point chart – diesel sales v electrified cars

We are not expecting rising alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) or pure Electric Vehicle EV sales to overtake falling diesel cars until 2021 to 2022 but here is an update on the trends here.

Sales trends up to end of January 2019


Figures from the SMMT show diesel car sales down in January 2019 finishing the month on 29.1%. In 4 of the last 6 months since august 2018 diesel share has been under 30% .

Falling sales in for the full year of 2018 had stabilised at 31.7%, just under a third of the market. It appears under 20% of private buyers are choosing diesel but over 40% of fleet buyers remain committed to the dirty fuel and are stabilising its decline.

From September 2019 all diesels have to pass a real world emissions test called RDE. This was going to cut the number of diesels still legal to sell anyway but a recent court ruling may mean these diesels have to pass the 2015 Euro 6 limit of a maximum of 80mg/km on the road.

4Dieselmakers had previously persuaded the EU to help dirty diesels cars pass the test by allowing them to call anything under 163mg/km legal. The court ruled that the EU commission acted illegally in raising the limit above 80mg for the real world test. If upheld fewer diesels will be on sale from September 2019 and cleaning up survivors will make them more expensive to build and run.

AFV – hybrid, plugin hybrid & electric

Hybrid, Plugin hybrid (PHEV) sales have been hit by the withdrawl of many end of life models from Germany when new WLTP testing became mandatory in September 2018. New replacement models for Golf, Passat and 3 series will return later in 2019. Electric vehicles form a small but growing share of AFV sales so we cover them below.

Electric Vehicles

Electric cars end 2018 with just under 0.7% share of the UK car market share with sales of 15,474 cars up 13.8% on 2017.

EV sales for the month of January 2019 are up a more impressive 110% to compared to January 2019 but market share is still under 1% at 0.8%. The gap between diesel & pure EV share fell to 28.3% from 28.4% in December and 31.5% in November.

2019 will see more segments of the car market offering an EV option and production of long range EV’s slowly increasing in 2019. Production should power ramp up after 2019 becoming significant from the end of 2020 onwards. UK EV sales would be doing well to double to 2% in 2019.

Key models to watch for 2019 are the :

  • Tesla model 3 (arriving in Europe in Q1 and UK in Q3 or Q4)
  • Hyundai Kona (on sale now but with a 10 month waiting list for delivery)
  • Kia Niro and Soul EV siblings of the Kona also likely to have long wait times when they arrive in April and Summer respectively
  • Jaguar I-Pace on sale now ( 12 week delivery for factory orders)
  • Audi e-Tron due in Europe in spring
  • Vapourware Mercedes EQC and BMW will probably not reach customers till 2020
  • There are waiting lists and limited production for all these EVs

David Nicholson

David Nicholson Is the founder of Rivergecko Ltd & MyUrbanCar which provide consultancy and advice for drivers and fleets to speed the transition from dirty fossil fuel transport to clean vehicles powered by renewable energy on land water and air.

The @MyUrbanCar twitter feed is a source of news & reviews of electric & plugin cars and vans in the UK.
The @rivergecko twitter feed & websites bring news and opinion on cleantech transport including cars, vans, buses, trucks, shipping, rail & aviation as well as autonomous vehicles & renewable energy, air pollution & motor industry news.

David Nicholson has worked as an underwriter at Lloyd's of London since the 1980's. His interest in technology goes back many years including interactive mapping, apps, green tech, boats, solar and cars.