Latest monthly data on sales of new electric vehicles have pinpointed three localities in the affluent south east as leading Britain’s trend towards fossil-free motoring.

Maidstone, Oxfordshire and Peterborough emerge from DVLA numbers in May as posting the UK highest numbers of new EVs registered.

Claiming that EVs clock up only 20% of the running costs of their petrol and diesel forerunners, consultants New AutoMotive base their Electric Car Count on DVLA figures. The analysts claim it is the most up-to-date and comprehensive source of UK electric car sales.

One month’s snapshot hints that around one in every eight new cars registered in Britain is fully electric. That car class is the only power type to resist the recession keeping purchasers out of showrooms.  In addition, more than one in four is a battery-enabled hybrid.

A looming recession and lingering post-Covid uncertainty left Britons’ purchases of new cars of all types depressed by one third year on year. Driveaways of new motors fell from May 2021’s 147,000 new registrations, to only 108,000 a year later.  Hybrids dropped too, contributing around 28,000 of those new registrations.

But ‘pure’ electrics put on nearly 1,000 registrations, accounting for 12.3% share of May’s new sales, as presented below

Fuel type Registered vehicles, May 2022 Market share, May 2022 (%) Registered vehicles, May 2021 Market share, May 2021 (%)
Petrol 55,842 51.53 82,070 55.79
Hybrid 28,309 26.12 31,903 21.69
Pure electric 13,339 12.31 12,408 8.43
Diesel 10,448 9.64 20,472 13.92
Other 431 0.4 262 0.18
Totals 108,369 147,115


Excluding electric-exclusive makers like Tesla, the Electric Car Count from New AutoMotive looks only at vehicle brands with a legacy in petrol and diesel combustion.

Jaguar returned to its top spot in May. Over half of all the Midlands-based maker’s sales are now fully electric.

Fiat rocketed up from only 61 new EV registrations in May last year, to 515 last month, representing 36% of its sales. From July 2023 the Italian combine is committed to selling only fully electric cars in the UK.

New AutoMotive co-founder Ben Nelmes commented on the numbers:

“Amid global supply chain disruption and a cost-of-living crisis driving people away from petrol and diesel, it’s encouraging that electric cars continue to grow in popularity.”

“Electric cars are a great way to beat the rising cost of petrol and diesel”, Nelmes added. “Driving a mile in an electric car is around a fifth of the cost of driving a mile in a petrol or diesel car.“

“While the steady growth of electric cars is welcome, the UK can and should be going faster. Ministers need to make the UK the best place for manufacturers to sell their electric vehicles, and a strong California-style ZEV mandate which will drive up car sales is the first step.“

For a breakdown of EV sales by manufacturer, region and details of data sourcing and methodology, inspect the analysts’ interactive dashboard here.


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