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Sales of electric cars surge in the UK

By Ashley Norris

More than 10 per cent of new cars are either hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or pure electric

November 2019 has been a good month for electric battery cars in the UK with sales up by almost 230 per cent.

According to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) it is the second month in a row that total registrations of non petrol/diesel fuelled vehicles reached a record market share.

More than 10 per cent of the cars sold in November (16,052 cars), were either hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or pure electric.

Reflecting on the figures, Mike Hawes, CEO of the SMMT said: “It’s good news to see registrations of electrified cars surging again, and 2020 will see manufacturers introduce plenty of new, exciting models to give buyers even more choice.”

Michael Woodward, head of UK automotive at Deloitte, said the figures were a result of “significant investment in the technology by manufacturers” with the world’s top 20 car makers spending a record £70bn (€83bn, $92bn) on research and development in 2018.

Hawes urged politicians to give the electric car market a boost heading into the new year.

“There is still a long way to go for these vehicles to become mainstream and, to grow uptake further, we need fiscal incentives, investment in charging infrastructure and a more confident consumer.”

Electric cars have become an important issue in the 2019 UK general election with all the major parties offering plans on how to stimulate both production and sales.

The Conservatives have promised to invest an extra £500m on a fast-charging network for electric cars and vans. Meanwhile Labour has reiterated the promise it made in September to make £3bn available to invest in new electric car models and technology. It says this will enable vehicle manufacturers to bring new electric car models into production. Labour also says it will exempt new investment in plant and machinery from business rates.

In a further boost for electric cars, Labour and the Lib Dems have committed to phasing out of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, while the Conservatives have said this would be completed by 2040.

Overall though November was disappointing month for car sales with the market falling by 1.3 per cent, with just 156,621 models registered.

The SMMT cited weak business and consumer confidence and Brexit-related economic uncertainty as reasons for the sluggish sales.

Car production in the UK has now fallen in 16 of the last 17 months and in the year to date is down 14.4 per cent on 2018.

FURTHER READING: Future electric cars could charge in 10 minutes

FURTHER READING: New car registrations in the UK fell in October

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