UK overtakes France to be Europe’s second largest electric car market

The UK has replaced France as Europe’s second largest market for electric cars, according to an independent automotive analyst.

According to Schmidt Automotive Research data, around 31,800 electric cars were sold in the UK in the first three months of 2021 compared to the 30,500 sold in France.

The change took place in the first quarter of the year as the demand for zero-emission vehicles continued to grow.

The research found that the first three months of 2021 witnessed 443,000 EV volumes, resulting in the second-highest quarterly volume on record.

Germany remains the biggest market for electric cars in Europe, with 64,700 units sold in the first quarter of the year. According to the data, Germany now accounts for almost every third EV registered across the 18 market region, or more than the following two largest markets (France/UK) combined.

Schmidt said: “The UK is likely to remain the number two European BEV (battery electric vehicle) market this year, albeit a long way behind market leader Germany, which manufacturers are relying on to meet European-wide targets thanks to the generous incentives on offer there.”

European overview

Elsewhere in Europe, plug-in volumes in Sweden (32,400 ) have now surpassed Norway (29,800) to become the largest Nordic market in terms of plug-in vehicles this year – and the fourth largest market in the region – thanks to a rush for PHEVs in March.

Almost 16% of all the new passenger car models that entered West European roads during the opening quarter of 2021 were rechargeable vehicles, falling by 3.3 percentage points over the record final quarter of last year (19.2%) that witnessed record plug-in volumes in a rush to meet tightened CO2 fleet emission levels that were phased-in last year.

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