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Eco cars reach record sales in 2015

The eco car is here to stay if the 2015 plug-in vehicle registrations are anything to go by. A total of 28,000 electric cars arrived on UK roads ─ more than the combined total of every year since 2010.

A total of 28,188 plug-in vehicles were registered in 2015, surpassing 2014’s total of 14,532 by 94 per cent, according to figures from the government’s Go Ultra Low campaign. A mere 21,486 plug-in vehicles were sold between 2010 and 2014.

Of the total, 18,254 were plug-in hybrids, an increase of 137 per cent on 2014, making them the most popular among British motorists. Meanwhile all-electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S increase to 9,934 registrations, an increase of 48 per cent on 2014.

Inhabitants of the South East of England were the biggest fans of ultra low emission vehicles or ULEVs as they are also known (no doubt thanks to the superior charging network in and around London), with a total of 9,186 snapped up in this region.

Second place went to the South West, with 4,420 registrations, and third was the West Midlands, with 3,371 registrations.

In terms of specific vehicles, the biggest seller was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, with an impressive 11,681 registrations in 2015 ─ more than double the 2014 figure of 5,364.

Second place went to the Nissan Leaf, which was registered 5,236 times in 2015, a 29 per cent increase on its 4,051 figure in 2014. BMW’s i3, meanwhile, was the third biggest seller, with a total of 2,213 registrations in 2015, up from 1,393 in 2014 (a 59 per cent increase).

The UK is now home to 30 plug-in hybrid, hybrid and fully electric cars, the campaign noted, adding that ‘more are on the way in 2016’.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said of the findings: “The UK has one of the fastest growing ultra-low emission vehicle markets in the world and these record figures show more and more people across the country are enjoying the benefits of this cheap-to-run and green technology.

“British drivers have a wider choice of vehicles than ever before and we have increased our support for plug-in vehicles to £600 million over the next five years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries.”

The Go Ultra Low campaign, which is comprised the government, a number of car manufacturers and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said to expect five per cent of all new car registrations (around 100,000) will be ultra low emission by 2020.

The adoption of eco cars is likely down to the government plug-in grant of £5,000 for eligible vehicles, an initiative that was recently extended. That and the fact motoring can cost as little as 2p per mile, compared with 10 to 12p for a conventional car, makes them a tempting bet.

There are, however, a few issues that will hold some people back from taking the plunge, including the fact hybrid and electric cars tend to cost more to buy and can be harder to resell. Then there’s the charging network, which is far from perfect, and dreaded range anxiety.

Ultimately, fuel prices may be at an all-time low but it seems a fair few of us want to do their bit for the planet – or perhaps spend less time at the pump.



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