2019 was a disappointing year for car sales in the UK & Ireland with new car registrations down by 2.4% and 6.8% respectively. The beacon of light in the industry was electric car sales.
2019 was a transformative year for the EV. It's the year the EV took a meaningful place in the industry & came in from the fringes and there are many reasons for this. In the UK there was a healthy increase in sales of 48% across the Electric/Hybrid category. Looking at pure electric vehicles (BEV) alone, sales increased by 144%. Ireland saw an overall increase of 68% in the overall category with BEVs experiencing an impressive 179% increase on 2018.
Serious investment has been channelled into EV's by the major car manufacterers. Range has been significantly improved in the newest EV models. Rising by approximately 20% per annum since 2011, range has been steadily increasing. 2019 saw the top end range reach 335 miles (539 kms), but as market demand continues apace we will undoubtedly see continued improvements on these distances.
Globally, the top selling EV's of 2019 include the Tesla Model 3,Kia Niro, Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Nissan Leaf. 2019 saw lengthy waiting lists for some EV models, and in a car market that has otherwise stalled, this is a significant. Tesla finished out the year exceeding it's Q4 projected deliveries, while Kia ramped up supply of the e-Niro to meet the demands the their waiting lists.
"The whole market is moving toward electrification this year," says Devin Lindsay of analytics firm IHS Markit. In just ten years from now Volkswagon plans for 40% of it's total sales to be electric. Ford invested over $10 million in Rivian, the electric truck start-up that hit the headlines supplying a new electric fleet for Amazon. At the luxury end, Ford also brought it's all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV to market with much fanfare, a rival to EV super power Tesla's Cybertruck. Apart from these high performance EV's, what the market needed was more choice in the affordable mainstream bracket of the market.
With the Kia Niro, and the Tesla Model 3 winning prestigious Car of the Year awards in Ireland and the UK respectively, it is safe to say the EV is buoying up an uncertain automotive market. Industry has recognized consumer appetite for choice, and are responding with at least 23 new pure electric (BEV) models to hit showrooms in 2020. Government policies all over the globe now demand that fossil fueled vehicles are phased out, in favour of cleaner, more environmentally sustainable electric vehicles. The trifecta of consumer demand, manufacturing technology and political will has aligned, so that the EV market is the one strong pillar in automotive sales heading into 2020.