Future of AFVs becoming clearer

The phasing out of diesel cars will be a slow process, according to SMMT figures.

It found that despite so much talk about electric and hybrid vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) still only hold 3.3% of the market. Diesel cars hold 47.6% (down just 0.6% on 2015), while petrol cars make up 49.1% of the market.

However, new AFV registrations are up by more than 20%, suggesting the direction the market is heading.

Rupert Pontin, director of valuations, Glass’s, said, ‘The area of specific interest going forward is the electric vehicle. These cars to date have been difficult to understand and hampered by a low driving range. But things are changing rapidly, as improvements in technology now mean that there are a number of cars coming to the market with a really competitive range capacity.

‘As it stands today, residual value forecasts for different fuel types within the same model range are now looking much closer as the industry begins to recognise that times and demand are changing.

Rupert added that £4,500 incentives from the government alongside its Go Ultra Low campaign are accelerating the uptake of AFVs, but warned, ‘There are some challenges that will need to be resolved in the short to mid-term. As it stands today, the trade market for AFVs is very poor. Vendors struggle to find homes for the numbers of cars, albeit low, coming back to the market and there is still a low level of comprehension of this type of vehicle in the used market.

‘Equally, range anxiety and question marks over the reliability of the electric technology play a big part and despite a growing charging infrastructure, we are some way from being able to provide functional and technologically consistent charging facilities for those on the move.

‘In summary, the future is becoming clearer with some truly usable electric vehicles and some genuinely good hybrid options for today’s driver. It will be fascinating to see the speed with which the market adopts this new propulsion type and even more interesting to consider how it will lead to the development of autonomous vehicles and new ownership models in the years to come.’