Electric car sales hit new high

Although numbers are still modest, more UK drivers than ever are flocking to electric cars with a compelling 84% rise in the south east in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.

The trend is continued countrywide, where quarterly sales broke the 10,000-mark for the first time in the first three months of the year. The driver was very much in the south east however, where electric car sales totalled 3,019 from January to March. Last year the number was 1,632.

David Stupples, professor of electronic and electrical engineering at City University, said, ‘Electric cars are proving increasingly popular in the south east among commuters who use them to drive to the station where [charging] infrastructure has been installed.’

Other factors include that families are more likely to have two cars and driveways, therefore easier access to charging, while clusters of company headquarters in the region will have swelled sales.

However, sales of electric cars in London increased from 650 to 800, a rise of just 22%, during the same period.

Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation said, ‘Whether Londoners drive an ultra-green car or an old gas guzzler they face the same problem — where to park them? Throw in the trip hazard of a charging cable and you can see why ownership might be low in the capital compared with the shires.’

However, there are now more than 5,000 electric cars in London compared to just 61 in 2010.

Across the country, electric vehicle sales broke the 10,000 mark for the first time for a quarter, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders data.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said, ‘Britain is one of Europe’s fastest-growing markets for ultra-low emission vehicles. Uptake in and around London has far outpaced the rest of the UK.”