BMW i3 Despite the UK Governments grant of £5,000 off the price of battery powered and low emission plug in cars,

sales have been slow with customers concerned about the driving range some of these cars offer and the high purchase cost despite the grant.

In 2013 pure electric powered UK car sales totalled just 2,512 units with 1,262 sold in 2012. But according to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) which represents more than 600 automotive companies in the UK registrations of plug-in electric cars year-to- date in 2014 are three times higher than last year. The Government grant system is part of their £500 million contribution to the development of low emission vehicles in the UK covering cars, buses, commercial vehicles and taxis.

At the annual SMMT Test Day for the motoring and business media held at the Millbrook Proving Ground the SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes said the UK average CO2 emissions of new cars had been reduced by 25.1% over the last ten years with the average now being 128g/km per car. The per vehicle energy usage and CO2 emissions from UK production facilities have been reduced by more than 20% over the last decade. He added that once Euro 6 diesel engines are fully introduced NOx emissions are estimated to drop by 84% over those in the year 2000.

SMMT figures show that cars produce just 13.4% of the UK’s CO2 emissions, LCVs 3.2% and other road transport 6.1%. Ironically the largest producer of CO2 emissions at 40.7% is the energy production industry.

Plug in pure electric car UK sales figures of 2,512 units, although growing due in part to the introduction of the premium brand BMW i3 models, are eclipsed by alternatively fuelled vehicles. Last year 26,017 petrol-electric hybrid cars were sold followed by 3,113 diesel-electric hybrid sales and 1,072 plug-in hybrids.

Mike Hawes concluded his press conference by saying that the UK has enjoyed 26 consecutive months of growth in new car sales and the SMMT is predicting 2.4 million registrations this year, 6% more than last year.

He added, “The UK is one of the most competitive countries in the World to build vehicles as it is being supported by Government funding, the industry is in a good place.

On a topical note he said that following a survey of UK based automotive companies 92% said they believe staying in the EU will be best for future business. That is a significant comment because 731,000 people are employed across the UK’s motor industry, we built 1,509,762 cars and 87,671 commercial vehicles in 2013 of which 80% are exported to over 100 countries worldwide and the industry generated a £59.3 billion turnover last year. by Miles Better News Agency

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