Registrations of battery powered electric vehicles (EVs) almost tripled in July, pushing them to their highest ever share of the UK car market.
That’s according to the latest monthly figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which reveals demand for battery EVs shot up by a staggering 158%, resulting in a 1.4% market share.
A total of 2,271 battery EVs were sold in July – out of more than 157,000 vehicles in total – compared with 880 during the same period in 2018.
The report also found registrations of diesel vehicles fell for the 28th month, down 22.1%, while petrol vehicles remained stable, with 2,646 more registrations than in July 2018.
Hybrid EVs increased by a substantial 34.2% in July, with around 7,758 of these low emission cars joining UK roads while plug-in hybrids continued their recent decline, with a 49.6% fall.
SMMT says manufacturers have invested heavily in a growing range of powertrain options, with British drivers now having the choice of advanced low emission petrol and diesel vehicles and an even greater number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery EV and even hydrogen cars.
It forecasts ongoing investment into new and more advanced powertrain technology, resulting in battery EVs doubling their market share next year with 51,000 registrations in 2020, although this will still represent only 2.2% of the overall market.
SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “Despite yet another month of decline in the new car market, it’s encouraging to see substantial growth in zero emission vehicles. Thanks to manufacturers’ investment in these new technologies over many years, these cars are coming to market in greater numbers than ever before.
“If the UK is to meet its environmental ambitions, however, government must create the right conditions to drive uptake, including long term incentives and investment in infrastructure. The fastest way to address air quality concerns is through fleet renewal so buyers need to be given the confidence to invest in the new, cleaner vehicles that best suit their driving needs, regardless of how they are powered.”
The organisation’s previous analysis suggested the number of EV models offered on the European will more than triple by 2021.