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Plugging the gap

More EVs and hybrids set to be registered this year than in the previous decade

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again at The Car Expert, and now automotive industry data confirms it: plug-in car sales are accelerating at a rapid rate.

Latest forecasts from automotive trade association the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that it expects British businesses and consumers to take delivery of around 287,000 of the latest zero-emission electric and plug-in hybrid cars during 2021.

Compare that to the 271,000 new battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles that were registered between 2010 and 2019, and the rapid growth and popularity of this new wave of transport becomes clear.

Based on current forecasts, BEV registrations are also expected to exceed those of diesel vehicles next year – in fact, electric cars have outsold diesel cars for the last two months in a row, although supply issues have complicated the results.

The quality of new EVs and the growing acceptance and approval of the cars among UK buyers was reported in the Expert Rating Index quarterly report, released last week by The Car Expert.

The rise of these vehicles is remarkable given that 2021 is expected to be a relatively weak year for new car registrations: 30% below the average recorded over the past decade. A semiconductor shortage reduced overall global car production, but manufacturers have worked to ensure the availability of as many plug-in vehicles as possible.

Uptake rates of plug-in vehicles began to accelerate dramatically during 2020, as the billions of pounds invested by manufacturers in new technology resulted in the widest ever choice of zero emission-capable cars. More than a quarter of all car models available in the UK can now be plugged in.

Businesses have been particularly incentivised to invest in plug-in cars thanks to a range of tax breaks and grants, meaning around two in every three new BEV registrations this year have been for large fleets.

“Our latest outlook shows the UK experiencing a surge in plug-in vehicle uptake,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Massive investment by the industry as well as long standing government incentives have seen us go from just 188 new plug-in cars in 2010, to almost 300,000 in 2021.

“To achieve net zero by the desired date, however, uptake rates must continue to grow. This requires ongoing incentives to help consumers make the switch and significant investment in the public charging infrastructure.”

The latest from The Car Expert

Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.