Tesla takes the UK sales crown as petrol now accounts for less than half of new cars

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Petrol cars accounted for fewer than 50pc of total sales last month, with electric car giant Tesla becoming the best-selling brand in the UK.

New electric cars made up just over a quarter of the total sold in December, while petrol cars’ market share dipped to 46pc, data from transport researchers New AutoMotive shows.

Electric cars have grown from less than 3pc of new sales two years ago to 26pc last month amid falling prices and regulations encouraging cleaner transport.

In December Tesla’s cars made up 9pc of the market, making it the most popular manufacturer in the UK for the first time since April 2020. VW was on 8pc and Audi 7pc.

It was Tesla’s best-ever month for UK sales, with the company making up 36pc of all new electric car purchases.

Last month also saw the market share of electric vehicles reach its second-highest level ever, at 26pc, just under the 33pc seen in April 2020, when car purchases fell to their lowest level since 1946 and Tesla’s Model 3 became the most popular new car in the UK.

The Texas-based electric car company sold almost 9,300 cars in December, more than two-thirds up on the year before.

Separately, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders industry group released data suggesting more electric vehicles were registered in 2021 than over the previous five years combined, in an otherwise slow year in which new car sales grew by just 1pc.

Overall battery electric vehicles made up just under 12pc of the market last year, the SMMT said.

Petrol and diesel were close to equal popularity five years ago, the New AutoMotive data shows, with petrol making up 49pc of the total and diesel 47pc in December 2016.

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