Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y was the second highest selling new car in the UK last month

Britain’s millionth electric car has reached the road, according to the latest sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It reported strong sales of plug-in vehicles as the UK new car market recorded its second successive month of growth in September, but overall sales are still a third less than pre-pandemic levels

In what is traditionally a strong month for sales due to the introduction of the new numberplate registrations were up 4.6% on the same month a year ago at 225,269.

While this was a 9,957 unit increase on last year, when the industry recorded its weakest September since 1998, overall registrations for the month were still 34.4% below pre-pandemic levels.

According to SMMT car makers are struggling to meet a backlog of orders due to supply chain issues.

Electric vehicle uptake continued to rise, albeit at a slower rate of growth than seen earlier in the year.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations were the second highest monthly volume on record, up 16.5% to 38,116 units, and the Tesla Model Y BEV was the second highest selling model over the month.

Although registrations of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) declined by 11.5% to 12,281 units, overall plug-in vehicles accounted for more than one in five new cars joining UK roads in the month.

As a result, almost quarter of a million (249,575) have been registered in 2022 – meaning that UK drivers and fleets have now registered more than one million plug-in cars overall.

Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) registrations grew by 16.5% to 29,088 units in the month, as petrol powered cars grew 4.3% to 126,873 units and diesels declined by 14.5% to 18,911.

Despite the recent growth total registrations for 2022 are 8.2% down on a weak 2021 performance and more than a third (35.1%) below the first three quarters of pre-pandemic 2019, equivalent to 653,903 fewer units.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “September has seen Britain’s millionth electric car reach the road – an important milestone in the shift to zero emission mobility. Battery electric vehicles make up but a small fraction of cars on the road, so we need to ensure every lever is pulled to encourage motorists to make the shift if our green goals are to be met.

“The overall market remains weak, however, as supply chain issues continue to constrain model availability. Whilst the industry is working hard to address these issues, the long-term recovery of the market also depends on robust consumer confidence and economic stability.”