Ultra-green car league table revealed

A new shows that the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid remains the most common ultra-green car on the road in the UK.

However overall sales growth of the greenest vehicles slowed in the last quarter. The figures are revealed in analysis of DVLA data by the RAC Foundation.

There were 12,066 Outlanders licensed at the end of Q2 2015, compared with 9,773 at the end of Q1 2015 – a 23% increase.

By comparison there were 9,310 pure battery-powered Nissan Leafs, a 13% increase on the 8,274 figure three months earlier.

Third in the list of licensed vehicles that qualify for the government’s plug-in car and van grants is the BMW i3 (2,484, up 14%).

Overall, at the end of Q2 2015 there were 35,241 vehicles on the road in the UK that were eligible for the grants, a rise of 19% on the Q1 2015 figure of 29,673. But this is down from the 38% growth during the previous quarter.

To put these numbers in perspective, in the UK there are 30.9m cars and 3.7m vans. Therefore those vehicles licensed and eligible for the plug-in car and van grants make up 0.1% of the total: roughly 1 in every 1,000.

This is the list of the top-20 vehicles on the road – as of the end of Quarter 2 2015 – which are or have been available under the plug-in car grant scheme (worth up to £5,000 per vehicle) and the plug-in van grant scheme (worth up to £8,000 per vehicle).

Rank Make and Model Q2 2015 Q1 2015 Q4 2014
1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (all variants) 12066 9773 5273
2 Nissan Leaf 9310 8274 6838
3 BMW i3 2484 2186 1534
4 Renault Zoe 2062 1621 1356
5 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid 1439 1395 1324
6 Vauxhall Ampera 1250 1226 1169
7 Tesla Model S 1047 903 698
8 BMW i8 823 546 279
9 Renault Kangoo ZE 719 693 663
10 Nissan e-NV200 (all variants) 705 518 399
11 Audi A3 e-tron 570 300 66
12 Peugeot Ion 368 376 368
13 Volkswagen Golf GTE 350 4 0
14 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid 336 301 241
15 Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid 299 275 232
16 Mitsubishi i-Miev 252 254 266
17 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive 215 216 205
18 Citroen C-Zero 205 206 202
19 Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid 138 76 14
20 Chevrolet Volt 125 123 124


Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation said, ‘The march of Mitsubishi continues with the latest data showing the Outlander plug-in hybrid extending its lead over the Nissan Leaf as the most popular ultra-green car in the UK.’

‘The success of the Outlander looks to be down to three things: a high-profile advertising campaign, good range, and probably most importantly competitive pricing which makes it as affordable to buy as the diesel equivalent.’

‘But that price is dependent on the government grant. Ultimately all ultra-green cars will have to stack up commercially when the grants are withdrawn. What ministers must ensure is that both consumers and manufacturers have a clear idea of when and how the scheme will come to an end.’

‘The interesting question is whether Mitsubishi are making money from this model or using it as a loss leader to gain market share and drive out competitors.’

‘It is worth noting that the growth in the number of ultra-low carbon vehicles on the road slowed significantly in the latest quarter compared with the previous. This is probably due to seasonal variations in car buying volumes but industry and ministers will be keeping a keen eye on the trends to make sure demand isn’t stalling.’