Alternatively fuelled vehicle sales shot up 31% in March

March saw a 31% surge in registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles. That’s according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), which shows how consumers are […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

March saw a 31% surge in registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

That’s according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), which shows how consumers are increasingly looking to invest in the latest low-emission vehicle technology.

There were 22,816 new alternatively fuelled vehicles registered in total – 14,729 were hybrids and 8,087 were plug-in electric.

The UK’s new car market grew overall by 8.4% in March, making it the biggest month for sales since records began.

The record performance came as consumers seized the chance to buy cars before the new vehicle excise duty (VED) rates came into force, when all new cars, except for those with zero emissions, are subject to an annual flat rate charge.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “These record figures are undoubtedly boosted by consumers and businesses reacting to new VED changes, pulling forward purchases into March, especially those ultra-low emission vehicles that will no longer benefit from a zero-rate fee.”

The Healthy Air Coalition, which brings together medical professionals, environmental and transport groups, is demanding a change to the VED, which they say subsidises diesel cars.

The most polluting cars, vans and motorbikes to drive through central London will face a charge of up to £24 a day from 2019.