Europe's biggest PHEV market

The UK is now Europe’s largest market for plug-in hybrids. More than a quarter of the continent’s PHEVs were purchased in the UK, during the first nine months of 2016.

The data, published by European automotive manufacturers’ association ACEA, found that 19,694 plug-in hybrids were registered in the UK in the nine months to the end of September. This represents a massive 49.1% increase on the same period of 2015; and a 25.9% of all total sales across the EU and EFTA region.

Europe’s biggest PHEV market a year ago was the Netherlands, boosted by incentives for company car drivers which ended at the start of 2016. The withdrawal of the subsidies led to a 68.3% drop in registrations from 16,420 to 5,204 units.

By comparison, the Norwegian PHEV market almost tripled, from 5,123 units in 2015 (20.7% of plug-ins sold) to 15,879 units (48.7% of plug-ins) in the first nine months of this year, reflecting a large-scale consumer shift from fully-electric to partially-electric models.

Adoption of pure EVs - including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles - remains much slower. Across the EU and EFTA, this grew by 7.7% year-on-year, with the UK growing 16.6% at 8,107 units registered – a 12.4% share of the region’s EV volumes. Norway remained the largest market, but with an 11.3% reduction in registrations, to 19,716 units.

Combining sales of plug-in hybrids and electric/fuel cell vehicles, the EU and EFTA registered 143,315 units in the first nine months of the year, a 21.8% increase on 2015. A fifth (20.3%) of those were registered in the UK, which at 29,195 units is close to Norway’s 33,386 units. However, 28.8% of the Norwegian market is plug-ins – a significantly higher share than the 1.4% they account for in the UK.