The number of new registrations of ‘alternatively fuelled vehicles’ rose by nearly 20% in the first five months of 2018 – compared to a 6.8% fall in the overall new car market.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show that 57,928 new alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) – including electric vehicles – were registered between January and May 2018, compared to 47,937 in the same period in 2017 (up 19.5%).
In total, 1,079,049 new cars were registered in the first five months of 2018, compared to 1,158,357 in the same period on 2017. The biggest fall was in new diesel registrations which were down 30.6% to 345,251.
The market share of AFVs rose to 5.3% in the five month period – compared to 4.1% in the same period in 2017.
However, in more positive news for the new car market, the total of number of registrations rose in the month of May 2018 – up 3.4% to 192,649 (compared to 186,265 in May 2017).
Much of this rise can be attributed to an increase in the number of petrol vehicles sold – up 23.5% to 119,149.
AFVs also showed year-on-year progress, with 11,240 new registrations in May 2018 representing a 36.1% increase (from 8,258).
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “May’s growth, albeit on the back of large declines last year, is encouraging and suggests the market is now starting to return to a more natural running rate.
“To ensure long-term stability, we need to avoid any further disruption to the market, and this will require sustainable policies that give consumers and businesses the confidence to invest in the new cars that best suit their needs.
“Fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality and reduce CO2, and this applies to hybrid and plug-in technologies as well as the latest low emission petrol and diesels which, for many drivers, remain the right choice economically and environmentally.”