More than twice the number of electric cars have been sold so far this year compared to the whole of 2019, pointing to a growing appetite for greener transport.
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic having forced car showrooms to shut through lockdown, electric vehicle sales have skyrocketed, more than tripling their market share.
Analysis from the RAC of new car registration data said 2021 would be 'critically important' in deciding whether the latest love affair with electric was here to stay.
Meanwhile, the data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a group that represents more than 800 vehicle manufacturers across the UK, points to a sluggish year for petrol and diesel sales.
As of November, fewer than half the number of petrol and diesel cars had been sold, compared to the total number of sales made in 2019.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, industry data shows that since January 2020, at least 86,291 solely electric cars were registered, up from 37 850 over the whole of 2019.
This jump brings the market share of electric vehicle sales up to 5.8 % of all cars sold in the UK, compared to just 1.6% last year. The news comes just days after the opening of the UK's first-ever fully electric charging forecourt opened in Braintree, Essex- suggesting that some investors are already readying themselves for an electric revolution.
"We may well now be reaching a watershed moment when it comes to new car sales in the UK – taking the anomalous month of April aside when dealers were forced to shut because of the pandemic, November saw more plug-in cars registered than diesel cars," said the RAC's data insight spokesperson, Rod Dennis.said the RAC's data insight spokesperson, Rod Dennis
While diesel car sales are still much higher overall, a 58% drop in sales marked a dramatic slowdown in the industry this year.
In 2019, over half a million diesel vehicles were sold in the UK; however, so far this year, less than a quarter of a million new cars have been registered.
The slowdown could partly be a reflection of new government regulations announced last month, which revealed that there would be an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030, in efforts to lower the country's greenhouse gas emissions.
The policy move will be accompanied by the installation of thousands of new charge-points and a grant for drivers wanting to make the switch to ultra-low emission vehicles.
Dennis points to health concerns as another reason that drivers may be looking to make the switch:
The rise in demand for plug-in electrified vehicles appears to partly be taking place at petrol and diesel's expense, with the latter as a result of concerns over harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions.
Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant gas in the nitrous oxide family, which is harmful to health. According to the London Air Quality Network, over half of all nitrogen oxides are emitted by road transport.
High levels of nitrogen oxide can inflame the lining of the lungs, causing people to become short of breath and become more susceptible to respiratory infections.
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