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Tesla Model 3 UK's best selling car in September

Tesla Model 3 UK's best selling car in September
The petrol crisis is prompting an unprecedented surge in interest in electric vehicles. Photo: Getty (William Barton via Getty Images)

Tesla (TSLA) Model 3 saw the most new car registrations in the UK in September, new data revealed.

Overall, 71,566 new electric vehicles were registered in the month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said, a 137% year-on-year increase. Of these, 6,879 were Tesla Model 3, making it the month's best seller.

The Vauxhall Corsa (STLA) came in at number two, with 5,235 new registrations. This was followed by BMW 3 Series (BMW.DE), Toyota Yaris (TM) and Nissan Qashqai (NSANY).

Year-to-date, the Vauxhall Corsa has seen the most number of registrations (32,616) followed by the Volkswagen Golf (VOW3.DE) and the Ford Fiesta (F). The Ford Puma and Mercedes-Benz A-Class (DAI.DE) round out the top 5 best selling cars so far this year.


Watch: The best electric cars to buy

September was the best month ever for new battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake. With a market share of 15.2%, 32,721 BEVs joined the road, reflecting growing consumer appetite.

Plug-in hybrid share also grew to 6.4%, meaning more than one in five new cars registered in September was zero-emission capable.

Hybrid electric vehicles grew their overall market share from 8% in 2020 to 11.6%, with 24,961 registered in September.

Read more: UK's new car market sees worst September since 1998

“The scenes of panic-buying, punch-ups at the pumps and queues snaking for miles have had a galvanising effect on car-buyers — prompting an unprecedented surge in interest in EVs and hybrid vehicles," said Karen Hilton, chief commercial officer at heycar.

At the height of the fuel shortage, between 20 and 27 September, leads for electric cars on heycar were up 159% year-on-year.

On the weekend when “shortages were most critical” (24 to 26 September) the number of heycar visitors browsing electric vehicle listings was nearly double the year before, up 94%.

“This suggests that it is convenience rather than environmental concerns that could push more people towards EVs," said Hilton.

Meanwhile Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said that “to meet our collective decarbonisation ambitions, we need to ensure all drivers can make the switch — not just those with private driveways — requiring a massive investment in public recharging infrastructure.”

He said the roll-out of charging points for EVs “must keep pace with the acceleration in plug-in vehicle registrations.”

Watch: Top tips for helping the environment on a tight budget