SMMT figures show soaring demand for battery electric cars

7 Aug 2019

More people are looking for new car deals on battery-powered cars than ever before, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Its latest report showed the number of hybrid electric cars on UK roads increased by 34.2 per cent in July 2019, with 7,758 of these low-emission vehicles leaving showrooms during the month.

Meanwhile, demand for battery electric vehicles increased by a staggering 158.1 per cent, resulting in a 1.4 per cent market share and the highest monthly figure on record.

SMMT experts partly attributed this to motor manufacturers having invested heavily in more powertrain options lately, with both petrol and diesel options now available.

Indeed, there are currently more than 350 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen models available in the UK, with more expected to arrive in garages later this year.

According to SMMT forecasts, battery electric vehicles could double their market share in 2020 if current investment levels continue, with as many as 51,000 new registrations set to take place.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: "It's encouraging to see substantial growth in zero emission vehicles. Thanks to manufacturers' investment in these new technologies over many years, these cars are coming to market in greater numbers than ever before."

However, he added that the government must do more in terms of long-term investment in infrastructure if this trend is to continue and the country is to meet its targets for zero emissions.

According to global tech market advisory company ABI Research, the biggest barrier to greater adoption of electric vehicles is 'range anxiety' - the fear of charges not lasting long enough for necessary journeys.

However, it predicts that improvements in battery technology - including solid-state and lithium-silicon technologies replacing current lithium-ION products - will pave the way for electric vehicles to substantially gain traction and become more appealing to buyers.