More Fifers opt for low-emission vehicles, but up front costs putting many off
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But the RAC said the high up-front cost of electric vehicles – the most popular low-emission vehicles – was still putting many people off buying them, despite their lower running costs.
New figures from the DVLA show there were 13,212 low-emission vehicles registered in the Kingdom as of March 2023 – up from 9168 the year before, and 2004 in 2018. In total, there were 216,815 vehicles registered, meaning 6% of them were officially classified as low-emission.
The figures are not an exact representation of vehicle usage, as many vehicles, including those in commercial use, may not be regularly used in the same place they are registered. Designed to emit less than 75g of carbon dioxide from the tailpipe for every kilometre travelled, they include battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.
Across the UK, 114,000 plug-in electric vehicles and 76,000 battery electric vehicles were registered for the first time between January and March, rises of 13% and 19% respectively on the previous year. It meant by the end of March 2023, the number of electric battery vehicles had increased by 58% in the last year to 770,000, while there were also more than 1.2 million licensed plug-in vehicles, an increase of 45%.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “While the rise in demand for electric cars has been nothing short of meteoric, we’re concerned that the relatively high up-front cost of many vehicles continues to put many people off choosing them."
He added: "For this reason, we’d like to see the Government do more to sustain new electric car sales, specifically by reintroducing a form of the previous plug-in car grant aimed solely at cheaper electric models to tempt people away from petrol and diesel models.
"For those who regularly make longer trips or who will never be able to charge an electric car up cheaply at home, a cut to the VAT rate at public chargers from 20% to match the 5% levied on domestic would also make going electric an easier choice.”