Electric surging as UK heading for record 100,000 EVs

January 25, 2017

A growing public and business appetite for plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars means UK electric vehicle (EV) sales will reach the six-figure milestone ‘well before’ mid-2017, a public industry body says. 

Go Ultra Low says that the increasingly vast selection of electric cars entering the market is boosting uptake, as electric vehicles build mainstream momentum.  

More than 35 plug-in electric vehicle models are now available in the UK – four times the number five years ago (when the government introduced the Plug-In Car Grant) – with the number set to grow extensively this year.  

Go Ultra Low head Poppy Welch said: ‘Year after year, we see record levels of electric vehicle registrations as more and more motorists realise the cost-saving and environmental benefits of driving a plug-in electric car. With ongoing government incentives and increasing product choice we expect this trend to continue.’  

The ever broader range of hybrid and pure electric cars on the market is certainly a key factor in hybrid and electric cars becoming mainstream, with 20 pure electric cars and 15 plug-in hybrid models currently available, ranging from city cars to SUVs and high performance models. This range is set to grow much wider, with OEMs increasingly offering plug-in hybrid versions of each of their major models. This allows hybrid and electric vehicles not to become an alternative, but a mainstream choice alongside petrol and diesel, boosted by tax advantages.  

Electric vehicle sales rose 29% year on year in 2016, with 36,907 units registered in the UK and every quarter enjoying year on year growth. This took the total number of electric vehicles on UK roads to 87,158 at the start of 2017.  

The most popular electric vehicle in the UK by total sales is currently the Nissan Leaf, with 14,000 sold in the past three years and a brand new version on the horizon. For plug-in hybrids, this honour goes to the Mitsubishi Outlander, whose sales reached 23,500 units over the same period. Plug-in hybrids were particularly popular in 2016, with registrations jumping more than 40%. Go Ultra Low also highlights other models with high demand including the BMW 330e, Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron.  

Go Ultra Low is a consortium – the first of its kind – involving vehicle manufacturers, the government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 

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