Autovolt Magazine

Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Sales Surge

The latest new car registration numbers from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in partnership with Go Ultra Low shows booming demand for plug-in cars as motorists realise the cost saving potential and environmental benefits low-emission motoring offers.

Analysis by Go Ultra Low shows 20,992 motorists made the leap to plug-in power between January and September this year, a bumper growth of 138.5% when compared to 2014.

A greater choice of models, with more than 27 pure electric or plug-in hybrid cars now available for sale in the UK, is being principal amongst the identified reasons for the acceleration of adoption. High performance hybrid and electric sports cars and EV/PHEV family run-arounds alike have seen massive increases in demand from consumers. Demand for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models particularly has seen the biggest increase, with a 226.5% rise against 2014 with 14,041 registrations.

Head of Go Ultra Low, Poppy Welch, said,

“The growth in plug-in car registrations is excellent news and in line with our expectations. This trend should continue over the course of this year as we know that motorists are keen to achieve maximum miles for the lowest cost, while minimising emissions and environmental impact.”

Shifting shares

In line with a trend seen throughout this year, registrations of ultra low emission vehicles continue to grow their share of the new car market, taking more than 1% share for the year so far. Up significantly from the same period in 2014 when just 0.44% of registrations were plug-ins, this move to new technology demonstrates the value motorists place in a variety of options, enabling them to pick the car that best-meets their needs.

Plug-in bestsellers

The newest statistics reveal that Mitsubishi leads the new registrations charge, with 9,303 of its flagship Outlander PHEV sold since the start of 2015. Nissan follows with its all-electric LEAF racking-up 4,285 registrations, and BMW’s i3 is the nation’s third most popular ultra low emission vehicle, also nearly doubling its tally with 1,564 registrations.

UK top ranked ultra low emission cars for year-to-date 2015

Rank Ultra low emission vehicle 2015 year-to-date registrations 2014 year-to-date registrations
1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 9,303 2,731
2 Nissan LEAF 4,285 2,969
3 BMW i3 1,564 874

Future market

Government anticipates that 5% of new car registrations (around 100,000 units) will be ultra low emission by 2020 – an expectation that appears on track in light of recent rises. As more motorists look to manage running costs, a money-saving end goal could be providing the momentum for the surge in electric vehicle popularity.

Electric cars can be driven for as little as 2p per mile, compared with 10-12p for a conventionally powered car. Furthering their appeal, the variety of city, family, SUV and sports cars provides the practicality motorists crave, while boasting up to 700 miles range.

Go Ultra Low exists to help motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the raft of ultra low emission vehicles on the market. The collaborative campaign is the first of its kind, bringing together a consortium of seven leading vehicle manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen), Government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Further details are available at