The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is to make a £10m investment in charging infrastructure investment. There are two elements to the funding, which forms part of a wider £35m investment in the ultra-low emission vehicle sector. There will be £7.5m for workplace chargepoints and £2.5m for residential on-street infrastructure.
The announcement came as the year-to-date plug-in car registrations total passes the sector’s full-year 2015 total. So far this year, motorists have bought 28,697 electric cars, placing 2016 ahead of last year’s January-December total of 28,188 cars with three months still to go.
Plug-In Car Grant discounts have helped push the January-September total 36.7% ahead of last year. The new registration plate boosted last month’s performance to deliver the highest September sales of electric vehicles on record – 6,113 electric cars were sold, a 56.2% year-on-year increase.
Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “The £10m government investment in workplace and residential chargepoints is sure to boost motorists’ confidence in electric cars and vans while accelerating uptake rates. While more than 90% of electric car charging takes place at home, this announcement gives drivers extra options and addresses a perceived lack of accessible chargepoints.
“Looking at year-on-year growth, September was the 53rd consecutive month of registrations rises in the electric car market. There are more plug-in cars on our streets than ever before. As more drivers realise the cost-saving benefits of these vehicles and the variety of models continues to expand, we expect uptake to continue its strong upward trend.”
The Go Ultra Low campaign aims to increase purchase consideration of electric vehicles by helping motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the wide range of plug-in vehicles on the market. It seeks to educate the public and fleet audiences about these vehicles by addressing outdated myths and highlighting benefits, including how they offer competitive practicality for both private and business users.
Transport minister John Hayes added: “The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads are at record levels and we are committing £35m to help install new chargepoints and offer new grants as we aim for nearly all cars and vans on our roads to be zero emission by 2050.”
A large rise in uptake of pure electric cars was also documented in the quarterly results, with the 2,128 new battery-only vehicles sold in September (+37.4%) contributing to the 8,107 vehicles sold this year. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids rose 68.5% in September with 3,985 vehicles new on the road, pushing the annual total to 20,590 registrations (+46.6%).
Of the 30-plus plug-in electric vehicles on the market, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the year’s most popular plug-in hybrid with 7,770 registrations. The Sunderland-made Nissan LEAF is 2016’s best-performing pure-electric car with 3,728 registered over the January-September period.
The BVRLA welcomed the government’s £35m package to support the ultra-low emission vehicle market (ULEV). BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney commented: “We are delighted that the government has listened to our call for support with workplace charging. Fleet buyers and company car drivers are leading the uptake of plug-in electric vehicles, with businesses responsible for 72% of electric vehicle registrations in the first half of this year, according to the SMMT. The ability to charge at work is a massive incentive for many people that are looking to ‘go ultra-low’.”
Some 4.2% of BVRLA members’ vehicles are electric and 3.7% of their new registrations in Q2 2016 were pure electric or plug-in electric cars. This is well ahead of the market penetration achieved across all new registrations.
Keaney added: “Businesses will only be able to continue this growth with fiscal support from the government. Workplace charging is a very positive step, but there is a lot more that policymakers can do. We need them to narrow the CO2 gaps between tax bands at the lower end of the company car tax scale and make a bigger commitment to in-life incentives for users of plug-in electric vehicles. Employers also need more clarity on how they should treat business travel reimbursements for electric mileage.”
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