The figures, published today (11 June) by the Department of Transport, represent a 366% year-on-year surge.

The department said the increase was driven by more vehicles being eligible for grants, which subsidise up to 35% of the cost of a plug-in car and 20% of the cost of a plug-in van.

The models accounting for the most registrations in the latest quarter were the Mitsubishi Outlander with 4,596 and the Nissan Leaf with 1,705

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “I am delighted to see such a huge rise in the number of people buying ultra low emission vehicles.

The Go Ultra Low campaign is making low emission vehicles an increasingly popular choice and the government is investing £500 million over the next five years in making them more accessible to families and businesses across the country.

“It’s a great example of Britain leading the way in developing sustainable transport options that are affordable for everyone.”

Around 14,500 ULEV’s were sold in the UK in all of 2014, itself a fourfold increase on 2013.

There are now more than 20 plug-in models available to buy compared with just six in 2011, with each of the 10 best-selling brands in the UK now having a ULEV in its range. 

Graph: The growing number of UK-registered ULEVs 

Car problems

Transport accounts for around a quarter of all UK emissions, and has been the focus of several initiatives to reduce its impact.

In the capital, Transport for London recently launched a campaign designed to get one million Londoners into car clubs.

TfL estimate the plan could help them reduce the amount of miles driven in London by 500 million over the next ten years.

The Government has also allocated money to encourage the take-up of hydrogen cars, which are seen by some experts as a longer-term solution to vehicle emissions.

Several private companies have also taken steps to reduce transport emissions by embracing the concept of reverse logistics and training drivers to drive more efficiently.

A Greenpeace report, released yesterday, found that corporate fleet managers across Europe could cut millions of tonnes of CO2 and save £20bn a year by taking advantage of available green technologies and efficiency techniques.

Brad Allen

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