Electric car sales doubled in August despite the overall car market declining by more than 5pc.
The number of battery electric cars jumped by more than three-quarters to 5,589 compared to 3,147 for the same period last year.
Sales of plug-in hybrids also soared by more than 220pc to 2,922, according to official data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
This meant that electric powered vehicles accounted for one in 10 new cars sold in the UK in August.
After a jump in year-on-year registrations in July, the industry had hoped that its virus-induced sales decline was over.
However, overall demand for new cars fell by a “disappointing” 5.8pc last month. Some 87,226 new cars were registered in the UK in August compared with 92,573 in 2019.
As a result, overall registrations for the year to the end of August are down 39.7pc compared with last year.
The automotive industry was hammered when it was forced to shut up shop at the height of the pandemic, and customers have been slow to return as fears over job security mount.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The decline is disappointing, following some brief optimism in July.
“However, given August is typically one the new car market’s quietest months, it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from these figures alone.
“With the all-important plate change month just around the corner, September is likely to provide a better barometer. As the nation takes steps to return to normality, protecting consumer confidence will be critical to driving a recovery."
James Fairclough, chief executive of AA Cars, said: “July’s year-on-year increase in sales gave the industry a welcome shot of optimism, so it is disappointing that the upward trend didn’t continue into August.”