Uptake of plug-in cars reached a record high in the UK, with more than 115 electric cars registered 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 introduced in January 2011.
Analysis by Go Ultra Low and latest registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show plug-in car sales this year are ahead of schedule to exceed 2015’s record total – when more plug-in cars were registered than the previous five years combined. In addition, this first quarter success 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. The number of vehicles registered using the Plug-In Car Grant has now surpassed 58,000, nearly triple the amount that were registered at the start of last year.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “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.”
In addition to surging quarterly growth, March also delivered the strongest-ever monthly sales figures, with 7,144 new electric cars hitting UK roads. The monthly total exceeds the previous high of 6,104, recorded exactly a year ago in March 2015.
Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, 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 early year boost in plug-in registrations is set to maintain the UK’s position as a leading market in the European Union for electric vehicle (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.