Sales of electric vehicles soared last year, but the market as a whole failed to recover from the Covid pandemic.
More electric cars were registered in 2021 than in the previous five years combined, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Yet the industry body said much more investment is needed in charging infrastructure.
Meanwhile an acute shortage of computer chips left dealers struggling to get hold of many new conventional models.
Overall, 2021 was another dismal year for the motor industry. Preliminary figures from the SMMT show that some 1.65m cars new cars were registered.
That was a small increase over 2020, when the impact of the first Covid-related lockdowns and dealer closures sent sales plummeting.
But it was still the second-worst figure recorded in nearly three decades, and 28% down on its pre-pandemic level.
At the beginning of the year, there was a further lockdown, while any hopes of a lasting recovery later on were dashed by a severe shortage of semiconductors – or computer chips.
These are critical components in modern cars, being used in areas such as engine management and emissions control, emergency braking, airbags, entertainment systems and navigation.
A modern car can use between 1,500 and 3,000 semiconductors.