Electric vehicle purchases rise by one-fifth in UK

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Of the 174,564 new cars registered in the U.K. in January, 4.2% were electric vehicles (EVs), new data by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has shown.

Despite the weakening pound, British motorists were still eager to splash the cash on imports, with new registrations for the month reaching a 12-year high.

January was a particularly strong month for EVs, beating out November’s 3.6% share of the total market and rising one-fifth on December 2016. Diesel car registrations, by contrast, fell 4.3% for the month as higher taxes levied on these vehicles deterred buyers, the SMMT believes.

“It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefitng from this positive growth, reaching a record market share,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “The figures have been buoyed by a great range of new models that are safer and cleaner than ever before.”

A report published last week by Carbon Tracker and Imperial College London forecasted that EVs, combined with solar power, will dramatically begin to eat into the global market share currently enjoyed by fossil fuels, claiming as much as 10% of their share within the decade.

According to the study, solar PV can grow to meet 23% of the world’s power demand by 2040, while EVs are projected to account for 35% of the world’s transport market a little earlier, by 2035. As EV growth accelerates, oil and coal demand is likely to peak around 2020, the report added.

Yesterday it was also revealed that Vattenfall, the Swedish power giant, plans to replace all of its diesel-powered delivery trucks in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands with EVs. By 2050, the company wishes to be completely emissions free, with one of the first positive steps taken being the introduction of EVs over the next five years in these countries.

The conversion of the Vattenfall fleet will see the introduction of 1,700, 1,100 and 750 new EVs in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands respectively.