Demand for electric vehicles rose by 48% in 2016, with plug-in hybrids rocketing by 133%.
The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) offer the clearest indication yet that driver appetite for electric vehicles (EVs) and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) is taking hold – a trend that’s only likely to build year on year.
“Demand for alternative fuelled and low emission vehicles is now outperforming the wider market across all vehicle categories,” said Mark Gallagher, Grosvenor Leasing’s green fleet specialist.
“The car market grew by 6.3% last year, however pure electric vehicles shot up by 48% to nearly 10,000 vehicles and plug-in hybrids soared 133% to over 18,000 vehicles. For a few years now there has been uncertainty as to when the EV and ULEV revolution would begin in earnest, however that moment appears to have come.
“Compare the demand for alternative fuels to diesel. The uptake of diesel vehicles rose by just 3% in 2016, and the pressure on drivers to turn their backs on diesel technology is only likely to increase due to a range of socio-economic factors.
“Looking globally, the leaders of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens have all announced they will stop the use of all diesel-powered cars and trucks by the middle of the next decade. In the UK, campaigners are calling for London’s mayor to commit to phase out diesel vehicles from London by 2025.
“Taxation on polluting vehicles is becoming increasingly punitive while favouring low emission cars and vans, and the quality of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles has never been better.
“For companies operating vehicle fleets, the message is to act now. Vehicle policies and driver choice lists will need reviewing in light of the growth in EVs and ULEVs because with most vehicle replacement policies being 3 to 4 years its important to have a plan now as the market is shifting faster than ever.”