The latest vehicle registration figures published by the SMMT show that fewer than 1,000 pure electric battery powered cars have been sold since January 1, down 33.7% year-on-year.
Petrol cars remain dominant, representing 60.6% of the market (up from 51.5% in the same period last year) and diesels dropped nine percentage points year-on-year, now representing 35% of the market.
Thanks to the growth in plug-in hybrids, the number of alternatively-fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations continues to increase, albeit slowly. They now represent 4.4% of the market compared to 4% in the same period last year. The number of AFVs registered in February was 3,547, up 7.2% year-on-year and indications show diesel drivers moving towards petrol rather than AFVs.
These figures suggest that the government still has a lot to do to meet its target of ending the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040.
BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “We have written to the Chancellor ahead of his Spring Statement to call upon Government to bring forward the reduction of Benefit in Kind to 2% for electric cars to incentive the right purchasing decisions. It is currently set to increase for the next two years before falling. There are indications that this is acting as an active deterrent to potential buyers, who are putting off the adoption of an electric car until the right incentives are in place.
SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “If zero-emission vehicles are to become mainstream in future, long-term government support with a consistent approach to incentives and tax, and greater investment in charging infrastructure will be critical.”
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These figures suggest that consumers are still worried about the four R’s that we see holding back the pure-electric market: retail price, range limitation, recharging availability and uncertain residual value. Until more affordable models come to market with a longer range, and more is done to make recharging less of a headache, it is hard to see how the picture is really going to change.”
The total number of new car registrations in February was 80,805, down 2.8% year-on-year. Read more about the latest vehicle registration statistics here on the SMMT website.