New alternatively-fuelled car sales are increasing in the UK, up 21% year-on-year in July 2018, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Growth was particularly strong for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), up 33.5%, while hybrid (HEV) registrations grew 17.5% and pure electric vehicles (EVs) 2.4%.
However, as a percentage of total sales, these figures remain disappointingly low, around 6%.
Most vehicle manufacturers still appear conflicted as to which technologies to back. Volvo has been bolder than most, with its commitment that every new car it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor.
McLaren also recently committed to hybrid. “We are a luxury brand investing in innovation, whether that’s the development and manufacture of our own carbon-fibre tubs, as part of a new £50m British-based production centre, or new powertrains, with our entire range due to be hybrid by 2025,” said chief executive, Mike Flewitt.
Meanwhile, consumer champion Honest John is calling for the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) for EVs to be scrapped, describing it as a disincentive to invest in the cleanest and greenest technology.
Its analysis revealed that pure electric cars can be up to 60% more expensive to insure than their petrol or diesel counterparts.
HonestJohn.co.uk managing editor, Dan Powell, said: “If the government is serious about getting more people into genuine zero-emission electric vehicles, rather than plug-in hybrids, then there needs to be decisive action.
“The government itself holds the key. At present, it takes 12% off every motor insurance premium in IPT. If it removed IPT from pure electric vehicles, then premiums would instantly drop.”
A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers (ABI), commented: “While on the one hand EVs tend to be smaller and less powerful, they also need specialist parts and skills to repair, so may cost more to insure.”
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