posted 2 months ago

Plug-In Car Registrations Hit Record High In UK

Overview of the popular, plug-in electric, vehicles that are becoming increasingly common in United Kingdom.

Plug-in car sales for 2016

UK, plug-in, electric vehicle registrations rose by 31.8% in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, Go Ultra Low said. The campaign group – that strives to increase the uptake of such vehicles on environmental grounds – said that between January & June 2016 19,252 found homes compared to 14,612 (+4,640). 

Furthermore, the 22nd quarterly increase was recorded between April and June 2016. March was the most successful month on record ever – boosted by the launch of the “16” registration – as 7,440 cars were registered. June 2016 was the second most prolific month, at 3,196.

Head of Go Ultra Low, Poppy Welch, explained: “The continued growth in uptake of electric cars speaks for itself as registration records continue to be broken by motorists encouraged by the benefits electric motoring can bring.” These include low fuel costs, cheap Excise Duty (road tax), and less environmental impact. 

Transport Minister, John Hayes, commented: “I am delighted to see record numbers of motorists coming round to the benefits of cleaner, greener, vehicles which are also cheaper to run. The low-emission sector supports over 18,000 UK jobs and is a key pillar in our ambition for a low carbon, high-tech, and high skills economy.”

Plug-in electric vehicles explained

A plug-in electric vehicle might be powered by its electric motor only, which is fuelled by a battery. It is recharged – via a cable – on a home charger or a faster, public, charger at (say) a service station. Range is limited to the capacity of the battery, charging can take some time and there are comparatively few units available. 

A core benefit is that there are no harmful emissions at the point of use. As Vehicle Excise Duty is based on emissions, this cuts the cost to £0 (for the moment). Furthermore, it is far cheaper to charge a battery than pay £X per-litre for traditional fossil fuel.

There is an alternative, however. A plug-in electric vehicle might have a traditional, internal combustion, engine plus a battery-powered electric motor. The internal combustion engine ensures that it has a virtually unlimited range as there are petrol/diesel stations – that can fill a tank within moments – within every town.

The battery is topped-up by the internal combustion engine. It can, alternatively, be charged via a cable like a fully electric vehicle. This theoretically enables it – if it only makes short journeys within the capacity of the battery – to travel without ever using the polluting, more expensive to run, combustion engine.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Plug-In Car Registrations

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was the best selling plug-in, electric, vehicle in the first half of 2016. Registrations hit 5,738. This 4x4, sports-utility, vehicle is powered by a 2.0-litre, petrol, engine and 2 electric motors. The Outlander averages 156.9mpg, and travels up to 32 miles using its electric motor only. 

Standard equipment includes: rear parking sensors, automatic lights, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and footwell illumination. Prices range from £31,749 to £42,999; including the Government's Plug-In Car Grant which cuts the price of such models. 

Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF was the best selling, fully electric, plug-in vehicle in the first half of 2016. Registrations totalled 2,336. It is a small, family class, hatchback that costs from £16,530 to £22,230 – if the battery is leased separately for a monthly sum – or £21,530 to 27,230 if included. Prices include the Plug-In Grant.

The Nissan LEAF comes with a choice of batteries. The 24kWh provides a maximum range of 124 miles rising to 155 miles for the 30kWh. As with every electric vehicle, however, maximum range varies based on: temperature, terrain, driving style, how much equipment is operating in the cabin plus how much weight is aboard.

Standard equipment includes: Bluetooth, a vehicle sound for pedestrians (as there is no traditional engine noise to warn of its presence), tyre pressure monitor, electric windows, push-button start, front fog lights plus steering wheel mounted audio controls. 

BMW i8

Plug-In Car Registrations

The plug-in, electric, vehicle market incorporates other high achievers too. The BMW i8 is a sports coupé that has space-age styling, gullwing doors, 4-wheel-drive, immense power and a fashionable badge that guarantees respect on the road. It is amongst the most distinctive and exciting models of its generation. 

The 1.5-litre, petrol, engine and electric motor produce 362hp and 570Nm of torque (together). This combination propels it to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and the top speed is limited to 155mph. This sports coupé averages 134.5mpg, travels 23 miles on its electric motor and costs £104,540 - £112,535 (Grant unavailable as it costs £60,000+).

Standard equipment includes: satellite navigation, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, stability control and side cameras.

BMW i3

Plug-In Car Registrations

The BMW i3 is a smaller, fully electric, hatchback that like its sibling has radical, space-age, styling. However, it has 5 doors rather than 2 – plus a 260-litre cargo capacity rather than 154 – so it is a more practical proposition. New prices range from £27,830 to £30,980; including the Government's Plug-In Car Grant. 

The i3's range is up to 125 miles. However, the range extender version has a small, single cylinder, petrol engine that charges the battery – rather than providing drive – and adds a further 81 miles. Standard equipment includes: climate control, cruise control, parking sensors, satellite navigation and powered windows. 

Renault Zoe

Plug-In Car Registrations

The Renault Zoe is a fully electric, supermini class, hatchback that official tests suggest has a range of up to 149 miles. Renault, however, says a more realistic estimate is 106 miles in the summer, falling to 71 in winter. Standard toys include its: key-less entry, start/stop button, cruise control and Bluetooth.

The Zoe costs from £18,945 to £21,045 including the Plug-In Car Grant. These figures include ownership of the battery. However, prices fall to £13,945 to £16,045 – again, with the Grant - if the battery is leased separately from the manufacturer for a monthly sum.