Electric car sales surge in UK

    Electric car charging on parking lot with electric car charging station on city street.

    UK sales of electric cars soared last month as demand for electric and alternatively fuelled vehicles increased by almost 90 percent.

    The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that new car registrations grew by an annual 23.1 percent in August and hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars now make up eight percent of the market.

    Mike Hawes, the chief executive warned that the increase did not mean the market is booming.

    “It would be wrong to view the market as booming. “August is always a small month in new car registrations ahead of the important plate-change month of September.”

    In total 94,094 cars were sold in August. Last month 7,489 electric and alternative fuel vehicles were sold in the UK, this is compared to the 3,968 sold in the same period last year.

    “Regulatory changes that came into force at the start of September led to some very generous deals being offered in August which will have brought sales forward,” said Ian Gilmartin of Barclays. “All eyes will now be on next month’s data,” he added.

    According to figures by EV Volumes, the popularity of electric cars is growing across Europe.

    Daimler-owned Mercedes (ETR: DAI) unveiled its first fully-electric vehicle on Wednesday. Porsche (ETR: PAH3), Audi (ETR: NSU) and Jaguar are all also planning to produce luxury models, competing against Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). 

    “I don’t see any specific problems with electric vehicles, but resources for mobility are limited and at some point we will have to decide on one powertrain or the other (although we are not there yet) and there is the issue of the charging infrastructure,” said Dr Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Daimler AG (ETR: DAI) and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. 

    The growth in sales is expected to continue as the cost of petrol and diesel continues to increase, with the average price at the highest level since July 2014.