Electric vehicle (EV) car registrations in the UK have grown for the seventh year in a row, with latest figures placing the number of new pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars registered in 2018 at 59,911 – the equivalent of one sold every nine minutes.
The new data from Go UItra Low shows the market grew by 19 percent compared to 2017, making it the most successful year for EVs on record and demonstrating a continued trend of consumers and businesses switching to ultra-low emission vehicles.
Though plug-in hybrids continue to account for the bulk of the market, with 74 percent of registrations, pure electric cars also saw a significant increase in 2018 (up 14 percent on the previous year), meaning demand for zero emissions vehicles continue to outperform the wider auto market. This takes the total number of EVs registered in the UK to more than 196,000 as of January 2019.
Strong EV market growth is largely attributed to the increasing number of models available for consumers and businesses alike, as well as a trend for consumers making more sustainable choices. In the past year, a number of UK energy suppliers have also launched smart-meter-enabled ‘smart tariffs’ offering cheaper energy for EV drivers, thus further incentivising ownership.
Furthermore, Go Ultra Low – the joint Government and car industry campaign – predicts the market is poised for a "another strong year" for registrations, citing a recent survey which found nearly a fifth of Brits would like to switch to an EV in 2019. Speculative government estimates put the number of EVs on British roads by 2030 at 10 million, while Deloitte has predicted that the cost of owning an EV will be on par with that of a petrol or diesel vehicle by 2024, likely creating a surge in demand.
Mindful that this level of growth will pose significant challenges in terms of demand on the grid, and in terms of the charging infrastructure needed, the government last year passed the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act, including a regulation to ensure all chargepoints sold or installed are smart. Up to three million public charge points - installed in public car parks, motorway service stations and workplaces - are set to be required by 2040 to meet demand, according to latest research.
Commenting on the newly-released sales figures, Future of Mobility Minister, Jesse Norman, said: "Record levels of electric vehicle registrations clearly show how fast the UK is moving towards greener transport," he said. "The government has invested almost £1.5bn into our comprehensive Road to Zero Strategy, continuing to pave the way to a zero-emission future."
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