Around 31,800 battery electric vehicles were sold in the UK in the first three months of 2021 – 1,300 more than in France – analysis by independent automotive expert Matthias Schmidt shows.
Battery electrics made up 7.5% of UK sales in the first three months of this year, almost doubling the market share compared to the same period last year, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows.
Sales are expected to double to 1 million in 2021, though pure electric cars will remain only a tenth of the total European car market by 2024, Matthias Schmidt predicts.
German subsidies have helped to make it the biggest single market for battery electric cars in Europe, with 64,700 sold in the first quarter.
The UK government received criticism for recent slashing of its plug-in car grant.
Mr Schmidt said: "The UK is likely to remain the number two European BEV (battery electric vehicle) market this year, albeit a long way behind market leader Germany, which manufacturers are relying on to meet European-wide targets thanks to the generous incentives on offer there."
UK drivers aren't convinced the UK's charging infrastructure is up to scratch. A YouGov poll commissioned by CTEK found that 78% believe the charging network is not currently adequate, compared with 65% in the other European countries surveyed.