The ten best-selling electric cars of 2021
Between the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the scarcity of semiconductor chips, 2021 turned out to be the second year in a row that the auto industry would really like to forget. Despite all the uncertainty and fighting, one constant remained – the rise of the electric car.
With nearly every budget, mainstream and premium brand jumping on the all-electric bandwagon this year, there was a significant acceleration in the UK approval of battery-powered electric models in 2021 – over 190,000 of these new electric vehicles were sold across the UK during the year.
When you consider that there were only 160,000 electric cars on the UK’s roads between 2016 and 2020, this is a very impressive accolade for the electric vehicle industry. While the number of newly registered diesel cars in the UK fell 48% in 2021, EV sales rose a staggering 76%, largely thanks to the ten cars listed below.
Electric cars, which are described as the future of the automotive industry, also received a lot of critical praise last year. The all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQS not only won The Car Expert’s Car of the Year, but five different EV models were also honored in our awards at the end of the year.
While the automotive industry as a whole continues to struggle with delivery bottlenecks, it looks like 2022 will be another blockbuster year for electric vehicle sales, aided by the many new all-electric models expected to hit the market in the coming months.
The ten best-selling electric cars of 2021
1. Tesla model 3
The Tesla Model 3 has set new electric vehicle sales records in the UK since its launch, and 2021 was no exception. Not only was it the most popular new electric car, with almost 35,000 sales per year, but it also ended the year in second place on the bestseller list of all new cars.
The Model 3 has received many positive reviews and currently holds one Expert rating of 84% in our industry leading expert rating index.
2. Kia e-Niro
Though Kia lagged far behind Tesla in sales, Kia sold more than 12,000 e-stainless steel SUVs in 2021, the highest sales of any electric vehicle available with the government’s plug-in car grant. However, this generation of the e-Niro will soon be superseded, the new model is expected in mid-2022.
Although it is one of the older electric vehicles in the top ten, the e-Niro continues to enjoy a high reputation with a Expert rating of 84% from January 2022.
3. Volkswagen ID.3
Completing the podium is the Volkswagen ID.3, an electric vehicle widely regarded as one of the leading examples of the new wave of electric cars on our roads, which received an impressive ten industry awards in 2021.
Praised for its performance and the decent battery range as well as the overall comfort and ease of use, the Volkswagen ID.3 currently holds one Expert rating of 76% – an identical score for the more traditional Volkswagen Golf.
4. Nissan Leaf
As one of the most popular electric cars in the world, the Nissan Leaf has established itself as a powerful and cost-effective alternative to the chart-topping Tesla Model 3, with more than 9,000 models sold in 2021.
The second-generation Leaf has received generally positive reviews, praised for its generous equipment and smooth handling. It currently holds Expert rating of 71% in our industry leading expert rating index.
5. Audi e-tron
The e-tron, Audi’s first fully electric production model, is a nifty and practical premium SUV that is proving to be popular in the UK, with nearly 7,400 sales in the UK in 2021.
The Audi e-tron currently complies Expert rating of 71% in our industry leading expert ratings index, with praise for its comfort. However, other vehicles can go further between charges.
6. Hyundai Kona Electric
The compact Hyundai Kona Electric SUV received a facelift in 2021 and continues to be a competitive value-for-money package for those looking for their first family-sized electric vehicle.
The Kona was recognized for its impressive battery life and practicality. It currently holds Expert rating of 79%, which is just behind the closely related Kia e-Niro.
7. Mini Electric
With just over 6,600 registrations in 2021, the all-electric version of the mini hatchback is praised for its high-quality interior, but criticized for its disappointing battery range.
Currently a Expert rating of 63% In our industry-leading expert ratings index, the recently revised Mini Electric still has a full year of production time, with a new generation expected to hit the market in 2023.
8. Renault Zoe
Offering an affordable entry-level vehicle to electric vehicle ownership, the Renault Zoe spent most of 2021 in the media’s favor – until it received a miserable zero-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP in December.
Now, given Zoe’s low safety rating, Renault’s urban electric vehicle is no longer recommended. It currently holds Expert rating of 62%, which has decreased significantly since the crash test results were published.
9. Opel Corsa-e
The Opel Corsa ended 2021 at the top of the annual sales charts with more than 40,000 registrations. The electric Corsa-e only made up around 5,600 of those sales, however, so Vauxhall hopes to generate more interest in its EV models in 2022.
The Vauxhall Corsa-e has received a mixed number of reviews since arriving in 2019 and currently holds one Expert rating of 64% in our industry leading expert rating index.
10. MG ZS EV
Another year of strong growth for MG is rounded off with the affordable ZS EV in last place on the top ten EV bestseller list.
The MG ZS EV recently underwent a facelift and is currently holding one Expert rating of 60%, that is the lowest score of any vehicle in the top ten.