Annual figures released on Thursday (5 January) from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that plug-in-hybrid, plug-in electric and hybrid petrol vehicle registrations increased in 2016.

Among these figures, the SMMT revealed that pure electric plug-in sales have reached more than 10,000 sales per year, a 3.3% increase compared to 2015.

Plug-in-hybrid vehicles have seen the biggest increase in registrations, with 41.9% more registrations in 2016 compared to 2015. Additionally, hybrid-petrol vehicles also saw a substantial increase of 25%.

Commenting on the ULEV registration data, rapid charge point producer InstaVolt’s chief executive Tim Payne said: “This is fantastic news not just for the electric vehicle market and the UK economy but also for the environment.

“The fact that 10,000 motorists chose to switch to electric last year shows that the British public is mindful about its impact on the environment and willing to embrace new technology to minimise that.”

The data also revealed that the uptake of diesel-electric hybrids experienced a substantial fall from 2015 to 2016, with a 55% decrease from 3,873 diesel electrics registrations to 1,741 in 2016.

Electric Evolution

With a paradigm shift to zero-emission vehicles required for the automotive industry to meet Paris Agreement climate and low-carbon targets, the UK government is ensuring the infrastructure is in place to handle the transition.

“The UK’s roads are becoming more and more of a welcoming environment for electric vehicles, with the Government ploughing millions into charging infrastructure and companies like ours making rapid charging simple and much cheaper than petrol or diesel,” Payne added.

UK sales of ULEVs will have undoubtedly been aided by the UK Government’s extension of the plug-in car grant, which gives buyers up to £4,500 towards the cleanest new cars. Now running through to March 2018, the grant gives buyers up to £4,500 to subsidise the purchase of electric and other low-emission cars.

In October last year, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announced that the Government had opened up a £4m avenue for businesses to switch their large trucks and vans to electric models through the Plug-In Van grant.

Alex Baldwin

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