Electric vehicle sales hit new UK record


Uptake of plug-in electric cars has reached a record high in the UK with more than 115 electric vehicle registrations every day during the first quarter of 2016.

In total, 10,496 plug-in cars hit UK roads during the first three months of the year with one plug-in car sold every 13 minutes, representing the best period of electric car sales since the Plug-in Car Grant was first introduced by Government in January 2011.

And the very latest figures for April show that the momentum has continued into the year’s fourth month with sales of plug-in EVs up 30% year-on-year as this year heads for another record.

The registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show plug-in car sales this year are already ahead of schedule to exceed 2015’s record total – when 28,188 new plug-in cars were registered, more than the previous five years combined and a 94% rise compared to 2014.

In addition, the success of the first quarter of this year represents a 23% improvement on the same point last year, when a huge 386% year-on-year rise in registrations was recorded.

As increasing numbers of motorists switch on to the benefits of electric driving, the unprecedented growth over the last 12 months has continued into the start of 2016.

By the end of April, the number of UK cars registered using the Plug-In Car Grant, which offers up to £4,500 off the price of a new electric car, had surpassed 60,000, nearly triple the amount that were registered at the start of last year and further indication of the rapid growth in EV sales.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, commented: “These record figures show that hundreds of people every week are coming round to the fact that plug-in cars are cleaner, greener and cheaper to run.

“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”

By the end of April, there were 13,065 new plug-in electric cars registered in the UK, compared to 10,048 in the same four months of last year, a 30% increase. There were a further 19,004 petrol-electric and diesel-electric hybrids registered in the same period, up from 15,750 in the same period of 2015.

Commenting on the figures Poppy Welch, Head of the Go Ultra Low campaign, said: “This continued and steep growth in uptake of plug-in cars is testament to how electric vehicles are becoming a natural choice for increasing numbers of new car buyers.

“With low running costs, tax exemptions and free parking in many locations, many more motorists should be considering a plug-in vehicle as their next car. As registrations records continue to be set and the rate of EV growth carries on, it’s no longer a question of will more motorists choose electric, but when.”

This year’s rise in plug-in registrations is set to maintain the UK’s position as a leading market in the European Union for EV sales.

Over the past 12 months, the UK ranks as the biggest major market and second only to the Netherlands in total EV registrations, with 28,715 new plug-in cars representing one fifth of the European Union’s collective EV sales.

The Go Ultra Low campaign exists to help motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the raft of EVs on the market. The collaborative campaign is the first of its kind, bringing together a consortium of major vehicle manufacturers, Government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Further details are available at www.GoUltraLow.com.