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Alternatively fuelled vehicle sales continue to smash records, as charge point roll-out accelerates

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have continued to soar, exceeding the 100,000 mark in January 2019.

Sales were up 203.9% compared to 2019, according to new statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with 4,0054 BEVs registered during the month compared to 1,334 in the year previously.

However, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) outperformed BEVs for the first time since May 2019, with 4,788 registered in the month.

Combined, alternatively fuelled vehicle registrations reached 11.9% of the market in January, which the SMMT says is the highest on record and is up from 6.8% the year prior.

The figures come in a week where it was announced the government will seek to bring the phase-out of petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, and include hybrids within this for the first time.

Mike Hawes, chief executive SMMT, said: “While ambition is understandable, as we must address climate change and air quality concerns, blanket bans do not help short-term consumer confidence.

“To be successful, government must lead the transition with an extensive and appropriately funded package of fiscal incentives, policies and investment to drive demand. We want to deliver air quality and environmental improvements now but need a strong market to do so.”

As sales of electric vehicles increase, the amount of charging infrastructure across the UK also does. By the end of 2019, there were 17,000 public charge points recorded on Zap-Map and over 10,500 charging locations.

Cornwall Insight pointed to research that shows a 52% increase in the number of charging devices in 2019 compared to 2018.

The number of ultra-rapid charge points has grown from 300 to 800, Cornwall Insight said, and contactless bank card accessible charge points have risen from 300 to approximately 1,000 during 2019.

“The rollout of devices that enable contactless payment is particularly positive as it is providing EV drivers with a version of network interoperability via ad-hoc payments that allow e-mobility to increase,” Tom Lusher, analyst at Cornwall Insight said.

“The scale of the network at present highlights the need to further advance the rollout of contactless payment systems, thereby giving more businesses confidence that their fleet can operate as normal when running on electricity.”

Lusher also pointed to new entrants in 2019, including IONITY and Fastned, which whilst relatively small, "have room to grow".

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