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The Best-Selling Electric Cars of 2022 in the UK

We reflect on the electric vehicle (EV) market’s performance last year, looking at market statistics and the top selling electric cars of 2022.

best selling evs


The UK EV Market In 2022

Despite major supply issues and a cost of living crisis, the UK’s EV market grew in 2022.

  • As of the end of 2022, there were more than 1,110,000 plug-in cars registered in the UK.
  • Whilst at the end of 2021, Zap-Map reported only 396,497 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and 348,352 plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) were registered in the UK, these figures have increased to 663,700 BEVs and 449,766 PHEVs in 2022.
  • Over 365,000 plug-in hybrid and battery-electric cars were registered in the UK last year, an increase of 20% on 2021.
  • In December 2022 alone, one in three new cars were electric, meaning they became the second most popular type of car sold in December.
  • In 2022, BEVs took a 6% market share, according to SMMT data, making them the second most popular vehicle behind petrol.

Best-Selling Electric Cars in the UK in 2022

Tesla dominates 2022’s top 10 list, pushing the Kia e-Niro and Volkswagen ID.3 down a place from 2021, whilst the Renault Zoe and Hyundai Kona fail to make the list this time, making space for Polestar and BMW.

Top 10 Best-Selling EVs:

  1. Tesla Model Y (35,551)
  2. Tesla Model 3 (19,071)
  3. Kia e-Niro (11,197)
  4. Volkswagen ID.3 (9,832)
  5. Nissan Leaf (9,178)
  6. MINI Electric (7,425)
  7. Polestar 2 (7,345)
  8. MG5 EV (7,030)
  9. BMW i4 (6,699)
  10. Audi Q4 e-tron (6,594)

Source: Driving Electric


Tesla Model Y

best selling electric car uk

Rated 4.5 on Auto Express, the Model Y is a family SUV that registered a huge 35,551 sales in the UK last year. There are three models available in the UK: the Model Y rear-wheel drive model is priced at around £52,000, the Long Range at £58,000, whilst the Performance model costs around £68,000. The latter has a range of 319 miles and can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds.

This sleek car may have a minimalist interior, but design does not come before functionality. With a glass roof to provide extra headroom, a 15 inch touchscreen, UV protection, an immersive sound system, wireless smartphone charging and more, the Model Y offers kerb appeal without compromising on the user experience.


Tesla Model 3

most popular electric car uk

The Tesla Model 3, the car that topped the charts in 2021 with 25,171 sales, moved down one place in 2022, registering only 19,071 sales in comparison to the Model Y’s 35,000+.

Auto Express states the car’s quality and practicality are comparable to the Model S. Also available in three models, It is alike the Model Y in terms of features, and though said to be ‘more affordable’ than Tesla’s Model S saloon and Model X SUV, prices range from £48,490 to £61,490.

Charging the Performance Model 3 from 10 to 80% on a 200kW rapid charger will take a mere 23 minutes.


Kia e-Niro

most popular electric cars uk

Down one place from last year, the Kia e-Niro is a comfortable family SUV. The 39kWh model has a range of 180 miles, whilst the 64kWh model manages 282 miles. The latter can charge from 10-80% in 44 minutes on a 77kW charger.

Features include adequate legroom and headroom, adaptive cruise control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and wireless phone charging. Also of note is the Energy Consumption page, which highlights how much energy has been used by driving, consumption by the lights and climate control.


Volkswagen ID.3

vw id.3

Three battery sizes are available for the VW ID.3, which proved popular again in 2022 with 9,832. The smallest battery is 45kWh, followed by the 58kWh with around 260 miles of range, and the 77kWh with a range of 338 miles.

Unlike other models, the ID.3 does not have a petrol or diesel equivalent. It is described as ‘reasonably priced, practical and good to drive’, with a neat interior given almost all controls including navigation, climate control, and audio are contained within the dashboard’s touchscreen display.

Charging on a 125kW charger, the ID.3 with the 77kWh battery can charge from 10-80% in a short 36 minutes.


Nissan Leaf

The Best-Selling Electric Cars of 2022 in the UK

Retaining its position in the top 5 in 2022, the Nissan Leaf registered 9,178 sales. Drivers have the choice between the 40kWh battery with a 168 mile range, or the 62kWh battery with a 239 mile range with the ‘e+’ model. The standard model has an acceleration of 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds.

The charging experience is also of a good level, with the e+ model managing 10-80% in 35 minutes on a 100kW charger.

Looking Ahead


The Electric Vehicle Market In 2023

The EV market looks set to grow in 2023. New Automotive has forecasted that the market share of new BEV sales in the UK could reach 33% by the end of 2023. This is supported by research by What Car?, which revealed 56% of car buyers are considering choosing a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or pure electric car as their next vehicle.


Supply, affordability, and charging

However, the issues drivers faced in 2022 look set to continue into 2023. The SMMT noted that although supply chains are starting to stabilise and the shortage of semiconductors should not be as much of a concern, ‘erratic supply will likely impact manufacturing throughout 2023.’

The models spotlighted above highlight the heights EV prices can reach. Auto Trader’s Erin Baker expressed scepticism towards a continued rise in EV sales due to the affordability of EVs, claiming “EVs need to be easier to afford, charge and buy to continue the positive sales trajectory and ultimately to meet the government’s target.” Affordability has become even more pressing in light of the removal of the vehicle excise duty exemption for electric car drivers from April 2025.

It is not only the price of EVs themselves that could discourage EV ownership – in January, the RAC highlighted the cost of rapid charging on the public network has increased by 50% across the last eight months. Last year, Karl Anders, Managing Director of Mer UK, signed a letter to the Chancellor and Transport Secretary regarding the need to cut VAT on public EV chargers from 20% to match the rate paid on domestic chargers.

To encourage mass uptake of EVs, it is no secret that the UK’s public charging network must continue to expand rapidly. Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented “for a nation aiming for electric mobility leadership, that must be matched with policies and investment that remove consumer uncertainty over switching, not least over where drivers can charge their vehicles.”

Whilst 2022 saw a 31% increase in the total number of public charging devices since December 2021, the government’s target of 300,000 public chargers by 2030 is not yet achievable. According to Hawes, we must install around 100 charge points every day until 2030, but until the end of Q3 of 2022 the daily installation number stood at just 23.


How can businesses and local authorities support the electric mobility transition?

From installing chargers at your workplace for employees to building a public charging network in your local borough for residents and visitors, commercial and public sector organisations play a crucial role in encouraging EV ownership.