UK plug-in car sales hit record levels

More than 3,000 plug-in cars were sold during December 2015, taking 1.7 per cent of new car sales in the UK, representing a record breaking month for green cars. The sales mix is the highest ever seen in the UK and is a significant step forward on the previous best of 1.3 per cent seen in November 2015 and December 2014, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders' (SMMT) figure

The news is especially good considering that overall December sales were the best ever - up 8.4 per cent - saw more than 180,000 vehicles registered. Almost 1,000 more Plug-in Car Grant (PiGC) vehicles were registered in December 2015 than in the same period the previous year with total sales at 3,090 - compared with December 2014's 2,149. This represents one in every 60 cars sold was an ultra low emission vehicle.

Now with the end of the 2015 calender year complete, the figures show that 28,188 PiGC eligible cars were sold in 2015, almost double the 14,532 sold in 2014. This now puts the total number of PiCG eligible cars sold since the start of the grant at 47,690 - and this excludes commercial vehicles. Add in non-grant eligible plug-in cars and vans, the UK electric fleet now numbers almost 54,000 vehicles.

Plug-in sales accounted for almost 1.1 per cent of overall car registrations in 2015 - with the industry as a whole celebrating four years of consecutive growth and seeing only the fourth year where car sales have passed the 2.5 million mark within 12 months.

The alternatively fuelled vehicle market - which includes PiCG and hybrid vehicles - took the biggest ever market share for a year at 2.8 per cent of registrations, growing 40.3 per cent. Sales of Plug-in Hybrid vehicles almost doubled while pure-electric vehicles saw an increase of around 50 per cent.

Below is the full break down of sales figures courtesy of SMMT.

End of year 2015 plug-in sales figures

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "The new car market defied expectations in 2015, hitting an all time record driven by strong consumer and business confidence. Buyers took advantage of attractive finance deals and low inflation to secure some of the most innovative, high tech and fuel efficient vehicles ever produced. The past four years have seen a remarkable period of sustained growth, and the outlook remains positive with every reason to expect the market to hold broadly steady in 2016."

Ben Lane, Director of Next Green Car added: "December's sales figures for plug-in vehicles are record-breaking with electric cars representing 1.7% of total UK car sales. In everyday terms, one in every 60 cars sold in the UK is now an ultra low emission vehicle.

"This is fantastic news for air quality, carbon emissions and the electric vehicle industry and has only been made possible by the ingenuity of manufacturers and the financial support of the UK Government. If this progress continues, as we believe it will, all new cars will be plug-in capable by 2040, which is the headline objective set by the UK to meet its national and international carbon obligations."

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:7th Jan 2016

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