Sat in MotorMartin Towers last week, I was reminiscing about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV that I had driven recently (reviews to follow) and about the strange and unnatural quietness that greeted pressing the starter button. For those of us raised on petrol and diesel it’s an extremely unusual situation and requires doule checking that the engine is indeed switched on. Pressing the accelerator gently and pulling away is greeted, not by the familiar tones of an engine’s revs rising, but by unfamiliar road noise as there is nothing else to mask it. MotorMartin can see how this electric business could be popular, it’s extremely addictive trying to eke out that extra few miles from the range of a pure electric car or, in the case of the PHEV, to increase the mpg to hitherto unknown levels over the course if an hour, a day or longer but the perceived problems and barriers to mass take up are still there. And then, once the Cup of tea had gone tepid and the sun was sinking below the horizon, MotorMartin was woken from his musings with the familiar sound of the news arriving.
With the latest figures available it is now clear that the 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) have been shared with MotorMartin and 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. Amazing.
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 to MotorMartin that:: “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.” A long way into the future certainly, but something to work towards.
In addition to surging quarterly growth, MotorMartin was shown that 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.
Sharing with MotorMartin, 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.”
Quite clearly, 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.
Go Ultra Low have spoken with MotorMartin to explain that they exist to help motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the raft of EVs on the market, of which there are now an increasing number. The collaborative campaign is the first of its kind, bringing together a consortium of major vehicle manufacturers, Government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Further details are available atwww.GoUltraLow.com.
So we would appear to be at the point where EVs are beginning to impact upon the consumer as they are starting to find acceptance within the mainstream. There is only one way for EVs and their technology to go and MotorMartin believes that this is an area that continues to need watching.
Where will you go?