The number of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) registered for the first time rose by 4% in the first quarter of 2019, new statistics for Great Britain show.
DfT vehicle licencing figures, published on 27 June, show 15,853 new ULEVs were registered for the first time in Q1 2019 – making up 1.9% of all new registrations.
Of the new registrations, 43% were eligible for plug-in grants – offered by the DfT to increase uptake of electric vehicles – including 6,203 cars, 628 light goods vehicles and 136 motorcycles.
During the year ending March 2019, the most common model of ULEV registered for the first time in the UK was the Mitsubishi Outlander with 8,281 vehicles.
Changes to plug-in car grant putting off prospective buyers?
While the DfT says ULEVs ‘continue to show growth’ – the statistics show that the rise has steadied in Q1 2019.
The 4% increase in the number of newly-registered ULEVs falls below the 20% growth experienced in 2018. Comparing year-on-year figures, there was an 11% growth in Q1 2018.
This could be explained by changes to the Government’s plug-in car grant scheme.
The changes, announced in October 2018, mean the grant for Category 1 vehicles – broadly those that are pure battery electric – has been reduced from £4,500 to £3,500.
In addition, Category 2 and 3 vehicles – mainly plug-in hybrids – are no longer eligible for a grant.
By way of comparison, the majority (76%) of ULEVs registered in 2018 were eligible for plug-in grants – compared to 43% in Q1 2019.
Overall market ‘broadly stable’ – but new diesels on the decline
In total, 857,000 vehicles were registered for the first time in Great Britain during Q1 2019, broadly the same as during the same period in 2018 (854,000).
The number of cars registered for the first time declined by 1.9% – but heavy goods vehicles (21.3%), motorcycles (13.3%) and light goods vehicles (9.6%) all increased.
Looking at fuel type, new diesel cars continue to fall sharply – down 20% to 188,000 in Q1 2019. This figure is below the 2008/09 recession dip.
Diesel cars accounted for 27% of all new car registrations in Q1 2019 – down from 44% in Q1 2018.
At the end of March 2019, there were 38.4 million licensed vehicles in Great Britain, an increase of 1.4% compared to the end of March 2018.