Purchase and usage of electric cars in the UK are starting to pick up over the months and this assessment was further gleaned when the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recently released the number of new cars registered in the country in January 2017.
Apparently, there has been a significant increase in the number of new cars registered in the country last month and it is actually the highest in 12 years.
What is more interesting is the fact that electric cars have also taken a record share of the market by eating 4.2% share of new vehicle registrations. It is the highest figure for electric car registration on a monthly basis, beating the previous high of 3.6% recorded in November of last year.
Cumulatively, the 4.2% share of electric cars in January this year is way higher than the 3.6% share recorded in November last year because the overall total number of new car registration was also higher.
According to SMMT, UK drivers registered 174,564 cars in January 2017, up 2.9% from the year-ago level, to reach the highest monthly level since 2005, details The Guardian.
Impending slow down of motor trade
The SMMT had also warned of a slowdown in the motor trade in 2017 because of the impact of the weak pound, but there was no sign of deceleration in the first monthly numbers of the year.
Alternative fuel vehicles, mainly electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, increased by a fifth to reach a record share of new vehicle registrations.
Petrol cars were also up strongly, gaining 8.9%, with diesel car registrations down 4.3%, continuing the fall seen in December, amid suggestions of higher taxes to curb emissions.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said he expected some cooling off in the car market as the year progresses. However, he adopted a more upbeat tone than at the end of 2016, when he warned of a challenging 2017, with the weakness of the pound likely to increase the cost of imported parts, that would surely drive up car prices.
Hawes added that January’s numbers were buoyed by a great range of new models which are safer and cleaner than ever before.
He also pointed out that it is encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from the positive growth, reaching a record market share.
Still in good position to withstand challenges
Despite the anticipated cooling off period in the coming months for the car industry, Hawes said that the market is in a good position to withstand short-term challenges on the conditions that interest rates remain low and the economy stays stable.
Based also on the figures released by the SMMT recently, the Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most popular car, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and then the Ford Focus.
Based on the figures also from the SMMT, there have been 7,279 alternatively fuelled vehicles that were registered last month, which is a 19.9% increase from the total of 6,072 vehicles reported last year.
It should be noted, however, that the category is still dwarfed by traditional gas guzzlers as more than 78,000 diesel cars and 88,000 petrol cars were registered last month. However, it is also clear that progress is being made.
The interest in electric vehicles is growing. Most manufacturers are developing ‘green’ cars now, which is giving British customers more options to choose from, reports Engadget.
The number of electric chargers or charging stations is also increasing. Following the moves of Tesla and Ecotricity, Shell has announced plans to launch a small charging network in the UK.
The decision of the company should help solve the long-standing ‘chicken and the egg’ problem. To persuade people to buy cars, there is a need for more chargers or charging stations conspicuously located all across the country.
But to justify the establishment of the charging stations, the electric carmakers need more people buying cars. It is a good thing that the situation is improving on both sides. And with the release of the mass-production sedan from Tesla, the Model 3, later this year, it seems that the process would further be hastened.
Meanwhile, Australian industrial minerals firm Syrah Resources Limited recently made a fearless forecast that the sales of electric cars worldwide would reach 100 million units by 2020.