Electric vehicle market share hits record high

Fully electric vehicles accounted for a record proportion of new car sales in the UK last month after registrations more than trebled in comparison to the same period last year.

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That is according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which shows that there were 2,271 battery electric vehicle (BEW) sales last month, up 158% year-on-year.

This represents a record 1.4% of the new car market, and the SMMT expects this to rise to 2.2% next year as manufacturers continue to invest heavily in low-emission vehicles.

The figures also show that new hybrid electric car registrations increased by 34.2% last month compared to the previous July, while mild hybrid electric vehicle sales shot up by a whopping 337%.

This is in stark contrast to the car industry as a whole, with new registrations down 4.1% to 157,198 – the lowest July figure recorded since 2012.

“Despite yet another month of decline in the new car market, it’s encouraging to see substantial growth in zero emission vehicles,” SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said.

“Thanks to manufacturers’ investment in these new technologies over many years, these cars are coming to market in greater numbers than ever before.”

The SMMT said that British drivers now have the choice of advanced low-emission petrol and diesel vehicles, and a greater number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and hydrogen cars.

There are currently more than 350 models available in the UK – around 80 of which are alternatively fuelled, including 21 battery electric, and more are expected to arrive in showrooms later this year.

However, sales of new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were down by 49.6% last month compared to the previous July, and Hawes warned that the government must do more to encourage motorists to buy cleaner cars.

“If the UK is to meet its environmental ambitions, government must create the right conditions to drive uptake, including long-term incentives and investment in infrastructure,” he continued.

“The fastest way to address air quality concerns is through fleet renewal so buyers need to be given the confidence to invest in the new, cleaner vehicles that best suit their driving needs, regardless of how they are powered.”


Image credit: ©iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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