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UK Plug-In Car Registrations Hit Record High in 2018

By Stephen Turvil | February 4, 2019


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Record, UK, plug-in car registration figures revealed – plus an introduction to some of the most popular models

Plug-in cars increasingly popular

New, environmentally friendly, plug-in car registrations hit a record high in 2018 in the United Kingdom, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders confirmed. The trade association calculated that 59,911 found homes compared to 49,182 in 2017 (+ 21.8%). 2018 was also the 7th year of growth for the plug-in market.

Electric versus plug-in hybrid

Plug-in registrations can be split into categories. Note fully electric cars, for starters. Such a vehicle is propelled by its motor that is fuelled by a battery. The battery is charged by a cable once the car is parked. Furthermore, there are no harmful emissions at the point of use. New, 2018, electric car registrations totalled 15,474 compared to 13,597 in 2017 (+ 13.8%).

The second category is plug-in hybrid. Such a vehicle is propelled by a traditional engine plus its electric motor. The former consumes petrol or diesel – so the car pollutes at the point of use – whereas the latter is fuelled by a battery. The battery is charged by the engine as it runs or a cable. New, 2018, registrations totalled 44,437 compared to 35,585 in 2017 (+ 24.9%).

UK Plug-In Car Registrations Hit Record High in 2018 Image 7

Market perspective

Despite the significant percentage rises, plug-in cars were still far less popular than traditional alternatives in 2018. Therefore:

  • 15,474 electric registrations equated to 1.1% market share 
  • 44,437 plug-in hybrid cars totalled 2.8% market share 
  • 2,367,147 cars of all types were registered throughout 2018 

Best plug-in vehicles

There is now a reasonably wide range of new, eco-friendly, plug-in cars to choose from in the UK. Consider the highlights below.

Nissan LEAF

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The Leaf was the best selling fully electric car in the European Union, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland in 2018. This small, family class, hatchback therefore has a wide range of strengths such as a limited form of self-drive. ProPilot, for instance, steers, accelerates and brakes on your behalf on the motorway. The car parks itself, too. Just press then hold a button.

Volkswagen e-Golf

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The e-Golf is also an electric hatchback and it resolves a common problem. Perhaps you are reluctant to swap to electric as it feels unfamiliar, confusing, and intimidating. The e-Golf minimises such worries by blending electric with the much-loved style, feel, and presence of any Golf.

The e-Golf now has an extra £500 off

BMW i3

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This is a prestigious, fully electric, hatchback that now travels further per charge thanks to its 120 Ah battery. Expect up to 160 miles. That is plenty of range to explore the city. Further strengths include the in your face styling, rear ‘coach’ doors that hinge backward, and a striking interior. This car gets you noticed.

BMW i3 is available for a 24 hr test drive 

Jaguar I-PACE 

UK Plug-In Car Registrations Hit Record High in 2018 Image 5

Jaguar's first fully electric, performance orientated, sports utility vehicle that is futuristic and luxurious. Expect 400 PS and 0 to 62 mph in only 4.8 seconds. All-wheel drive ensures it also has the grip to exploit its power. Furthermore, Jaguar’s Remote Smartphone App is among the luxurious features. It, for starters, lets you see how much charge the battery has via a phone.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

UK Plug-In Car Registrations Hit Record High in 2018 Image 1

This is the best selling, plug-in, hybrid in the UK. Part of this sports-utility vehicle’s appeal is genuine off-road ability. The behaviour of the all-wheel-drive system can be adjusted to suit the terrain, for example. The Outlander also tows up to 1,500 kg. That is plenty for a boat, caravan or trailer.

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