Almost 22,000 brand new electric cars left forecourts last month compared to just 15,813 diesel vehicles. Petrol cars still outshone both fuel types with almost 58,500 vehicles being registered over the last month of the year.
Total car sales were down by 10.9 percent compared to December 2019 with diesel sales dropping by 52.5 percent.
Diesel car sales still outshone electric over the course of the year with 261,772 leaving forecourts compared to 108,205 battery-electric cars.
However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 2020 has been a “bumper year” for battery and plug-in electric cars.
The new models now account for more than one in 10 vehicle registrations compared to just one in 30 last year.
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Mike Hawes, SMMT President said: “With manufacturers bringing record numbers of electrified vehicles to market over the coming months, we will work with the Government to encourage drivers to make the switch, while promoting investment in our globally-renowned manufacturing base – recharging the market, industry and economy.”
SMMT data shows sales of battery electric vehicles have grown by 184.1 percent throughout 2020 with almost 80,000 more models sold.
The SMMT predicted there was room for further growth as they revealed a massive 68 percent of electric registrations were company cars.
They warned this indicated more private buyers needed stronger incentives in order to finally make the switch to electric.
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Alex Buttle, spokesperson for Motorway.co.uk said: “Healthy electric car registrations are once again a beacon of hope.
“The green car revolution gathered pace in 2020 as electric and hybrid vehicle registrations surpassed diesel sales for the first year ever.
“Just over 285,000 new battery and hybrid EVs were sold in 2020 vs 261,772 diesels, compared to more than half a million diesels sold in 2019 vs 171,000 battery and hybrid EVs.”
The bumper sales figures were released after a year of progress for the electric car industry.
She said: “In the context of the new car market, 2020 will be remembered as the breakthrough year for electric vehicles (EVs).
“After a ninth successive year of growth in EV registrations, we’ve now seen market share rise to 10.7 percent.
“This has been made possible, in large part, by the Government’s ongoing support and long-term vision, combined with the automotive industry’s commitment to developing a wide range of zero-emissions vehicles that are clearly convincing the public with their performance, financial and environmental credentials.
“While only a handful of EVs was on sale in 2011, there are now more than 100 models available.”