Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles have continued to rise in February, up 34.0% and marking the 22nd consecutive month of growth for the segment, according to SMMT figures.
Registrations of zero-emission electric cars more than doubled to 731 units, although they still accounted for less than 1% of the market (0.9%).
Meanwhile, in the four months since the October 2018 reform to the Plug-in Car Grant, the market for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) has only grown by 1.7%, compared with 29.5% over the first 10 months of 2018. This suggests that removing the incentive for PHEVs is having an adverse effect.
Overall, the UK’s new car market enjoyed marginal growth in February, up 1.4% following five straight months of decline. 81,969 new cars were registered on UK roads in the month (a year on year uplift of 1,164 units), traditionally one of the quietest of the year, ahead of the crucial March plate change.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "It’s encouraging to see market growth in February, albeit marginal, especially for electrified models. Car makers have made huge commitments to bring to market an ever-increasing range of exciting zero and ultra low emission vehicles and give buyers greater choice. These cars still only account for a fraction of the overall market, however, so if the UK is to achieve its electrification ambitions, a world-class package of incentives and infrastructure is needed. The recent removal of the plug-in car grant from plug-in hybrids was a backward step and sends entirely the wrong message. Supportive, not punitive measures are needed, else ambitions will never be realised.