A record number of new ultra low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) were registered in the UK during the second quarter of 2016, according to new Department for Transport (DfT) figures.
The figures, published last week (8 September), show 9,657 ULEVs were registered during the three month period from April to June, a year-on-year increase of 49% and a 253% rise on the same period in 2014.
In the year ending June 2016, ULEVs represented 1.1% of all new registrations, compared with 0.8% in the year ending June 2015 and 0.2% in the 12 months prior to that.
Responding to the figures, John Hayes, roads minister, said he is “delighted to see more drivers than ever are choosing electric vehicles”.
The DfT attributes the rise to the extension of its plug-in car and van grant scheme, which it says will benefit more than 100,000 additional drivers until at least 2018.
The Government has also committed to spending £600m in this parliament to support the rise in ULEVs as it looks to achieve its aim for almost all cars and vans to be zero-emission by 2050.
Despite this investment, the DfT has been criticised over they way it is promoting the usage of ULEVs. An Environmental Audit Committee report published on 1 September called on the department to implement a clear strategy to increase the use of ULEVs.
In the report the Environmental Audit Committee says the DfT needs to ‘spell out more clearly and in more detail its commitments, timetable and progress on sustainable transport’.
Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, a joint government and industry campaign which aims to increase the usage of electric cars, said: “More and more motorists are embracing this new, green technology and helping Britain lead the global low emissions race.
“Electric vehicles have clear advantages, including low running costs and free parking in many locations, which is why it is no surprise they are becoming increasingly popular.”