Tesla Model 3 storms UK EV sales charts

Entry-level Tesla range outsells second-placed model almost three to one in latest DfT figures for Q3 2020

Tesla’s Model 3 has shot up the UK’s electric vehicle sales charts in 2020, with the latest set of figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) showing that 15,002 of Tesla’s entry-level model have been registered to the end of Q3 2020.

The DfT’s quarterly registration figures come out three months after the quarter reported on. With the latest set of figures, the DfT’s statistics show that the Tesla Model 3 has almost out-sold the second best-selling model three to one.

For the nine months of 2020 reported on so far, the Model 3 leads BMW’s 330e with 5,150 units registered on UK roads. Nissan’s Leaf is just behind the plug-in hybrid 3 Series on 5,097.

Kia’s e-Niro is in fourth place on 4,201 models, and Jaguar’s I-Pace in fifth with 4,134. Rounding out the top ten are the Renault Zoe, MG ZS EV, Audi e-tron, Vauxhall Corsa-e, and Hyundai Kona Electric. Interestingly, the BMW 330e is the only plug-in hybrid in the top ten for the first nine months of 2020, showcasing the comparative strength of the pure-electric car market.


For the latest quarter, Tesla unsurprisingly leads still, with 5,721 units, ahead of the closely-pitched Kia e-Niro and Renault Zoe on 2,960 and 2,955 units respectively. The Corsa-e, Mercedes Benz A 250 e, Kona Electric, 330e, e-tron, Leaf, and I-Pace complete the top ten for Q3 2020. Looking at pure-electric models only, the BMW i3 and Mini Electric come in as the ninth and tenth best-selling EVs during that time, behind the Ford Kuga PHEV and Volvo XC40 PHEV in terms of total registrations.

The rise of Tesla’s Model 3 has been dramatic, with the first registered models only in the DfT’s Q2 2019 figures - and even then less than 180 units were recorded. Around 5,000 Model 3 registrations are being added each quarter since the car went on sale in the UK. It now sits in third spot in the UK’s total EV sales charts after only around 18 months of being on sale. It's behind only the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (47,446) and Nissan Leaf (33,492), which have been available for far longer.

Looking at manufacturers, BMW is the leading brand in the UK for plug-in cars, having sold more than 65,300 models to the end of Q3 2020. This is largely down to a combination of an early entry into the electric vehicle market and a large number of plug-in models. There are nine different model series with plug-in variants available.

BMW’s approach is in stark contrast with the second-best electric vehicle manufacturer, Mitsubishi, which hangs most of its almost 47,700 sales on the Outlander PHEV - a handful can be attributed to the I-MiEV. Tesla has risen into third place in the manufacturer’s charts with the latest set of results, seeing its 41,300+ units made up of entirely pure-electric models - the Models 3, S, and X, and the Roadster.

Nissan, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Renault, Volvo, Land Rover, and Kia complete the top ten manufacturers, with the greatest choice of plug-in vehicles available from Mercedes. Counting all model series with plug-in variant sales in the UK - both new and older models - there are 18 different powertrains available from 11 Mercedes Benz nameplates.

Manufacturer groups flip things about a little, mainly because the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubuishi Alliance feature three brands that entered the electric vehicle market early, and offer a high selling model from each make, totalling almost 105,000 models.

The BMW Group - in this case incorporating BMW and Mini - is in second place with more than 75,000 units, followed by Tesla (41,302), the VW Group - including VW, Audi, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, & Bentley - (40,178), and the Hyundai Kia Group (21,723).

New comers in this last quarter include the VW ID.3 - the best-selling new model in Q3 2020 (those with no registrations in previous quarters) -Mercedes Benz's CLA 250 e PHEV, the Polestar 2 pure-EV, Mercedes Benz GLC 300 de PHEV, Ford Transit PHEV, and Audi A6 TFSI e.

Best-selling electric cars in the UK to date

 Make / Model  Total sales to Q3 2020
 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV  47,446
 Nissan Leaf  33,492
 Tesla Model 3  25,574
 BMW 330e  22,496
 BMW i3  18,544
 Renault Zoe  13,889
 BMW 530e  12,373
 Tesla Model S  10,063
 Mercedes Benz C 350 e  9,259
 Volkswagen Golf GTE  8,921
 Jaguar I-Pace  8,883
 Mini Countryman Cooper S E  8,136
 Volkswagen e-Golf  7,165
 Volvo XC90 TwinEngine  6,810
 Tesla Model X  5,623
 Kia e-Niro  4,874
 BMW 225xe  4,849
 Audi e-tron  4,611
 MG ZS EV  4,574
 Range Rover Sport P400e  4,270
 Kia Niro PHEV  4,124
 Toyota Prius PHEV  4,071
 Hyundai Kona Electric  4,063
 LEVC TX  4,008
 Volkswagen Passat GTE  3,932
 Audi A3 e-tron  3,812
 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid  3,640
 Vauxhall Corsa-e  3,488
 Range Rover P400e  3,417
 Volvo XC60 Twin Engine  3,312
 BMW X5 PHEV  3,137
 Hyundai Ioniq Electric  3,092
 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in  2,972
 Mercedes Benz A 250 e  2,888
 Ford Kuga PHEV  2,566
 BMW i8  2,271
 Volvo XC40 Twin Engine  2,081
 Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid  2,055
 Peugeot e-208  1,923
 Mini Electric  1,913
 Audi Q5 TFSI e  1,680
 Mercedes Benz E 300 de  1,550
 Kia Soul EV  1,534
 Smart EQ fortwo  1,315
 Vauxhall Ampera  1,213
 Mercedes Benz E 350 e  1,210
 Porsche Taycan  1,149
 Mercedes Benz EQC  1,139
 Volvo V60 TwinEngine  1,014
 Smart EQ forfour  955
 Peugeot 3008 Hybrid  813
 Peugeot e-2008  760
 Skoda Superb iV  753
 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid  724
 Volkswagen ID.3  652
 Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid  645
 Audi Q7 e-tron  623
 Honda e  557
 Mercedes Benz CLA 250 e  440
 BMW X1 PHEV  436

Source: Department for Transport; Analysis: YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
Key: Blue - pure-EV ; Green - plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or range-extended EV (REX) ; Orange - EV & REX
Table includes top 60 best-selling electric cars - pure-electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell where applicable - and excludes models with sales primarily made up of LCV/van variants, e.g. Nissan e-NV200. Registrations of more than 120 electric vehicles - pure-EV, PHEV, REX, & FCEV - are tracked each quarter by YourParkingSpace.co.uk from the DfT statistics.