Latest monthly figures from SMMT show low emission vehicle sales took a new record market share.
Sales of electric vehicles (EV) continued to increase in May while demand for diesel cars dropped by almost a fifth, according to the data.
Around 81,500 new diesel cars were registered this May – a 20 per cent drop compared to this time last year.
However, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said he expected the market to pick up again after the general election.
He said: “Although demand has fallen, it’s important to remember that the market remains at a very high level and, with a raft of new models packed with the latest low emission and connected technology coming to market this summer, we expect the market to remain strong over the year.”
The alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) market took a new record market share of 4.4 per cent last month after a slight dip in sales in April.
More than 8,000 new AFVs were registered this May, representing a 46.7 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016, meaning 50,000 new AFVs have joined UK roads so far this year.
New hybrid and pure electric car registrations have grown by 33.1 per cent on the previous year to just under 3,000 in a single month.
EV and low emission vehicles sales are still dwarfed by diesels, however, of which almost 510,000 have been registered in the UK since January.