If it has struck you that there seem to be more and more Teslas about, it is not an illusion.

According to analysts Jato Dynamics, in September the Tesla Model 3 was Europe’s best-selling car, with 24,571 cars sold. In second place was the Renault Clio at 18,268 and the Dacia Sandero (both petrol) third with 17,988. In the purely electric (BEV) category, the Tesla 3 and Y models dominate with over 70% of the market. Europe’s total market was admittedly depressed at 0.97 million units compared with 1.27 m in Sept 2020 and 2019 and all cars except the Tesla 3 (+58%) and notably the Hyundai Tucson (+40%) showed substantial declines in volume. 

In contrast to 2019 when diesel cars out-sold electrics by ten to one, the ratio is now almost one to one. This is a remarkable shift is attributable partly to chip shortages which have led manufacturers to concentrate on their electric and hybrid models rather than lower-margin entry-level cars, and partly thanks to tax incentives which previously encouraged diesel purchase, particularly for commercial use.

The rise of electric car sales in the UK is certainly attributable to a fiscal regime which has favoured their purchase by company users. The residual value of BEVs however, remains far from clear and unless a coherent second market (and therefore residual value) for these cars emerges quite soon, present uptake rates are unlikely to be sustained. Meanwhile the UK’s charging infrastructure continues to lag behind, electricity costs balloon, and government policy concerning long-term power supply remains vague. September’s figures may well may prove a blip rather than a trend.

Photo by Dylan Calluy on Unsplash

Kieron Fennelly
Kieron Fennelly

As a youngster he used to send race reports on Mallory Park meetings to the Derby Evening Telegraph which unaccountably always failed to print them. For thirty years he produced reports and analysis for other people before turning to motoring journalism and writing about matters rather closer to heart. An old 911, acquired when they were still affordable opened the world of Porsche and today he writes on historical subjects for several Porsche magazines in Europe and the US. He is also the UK correspondent for the classic car weekly, La Vie de l’Auto and keeps a foot in the modern world with a column in Trucking, a transport magzine, and as motoring correspondent for the Irish Police Journal.

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