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Electric cars make up almost half of all new sales across London

·3-min read
More than 10,000 electric vehicle charging points have been installed in London  (PA Archive)
More than 10,000 electric vehicle charging points have been installed in London (PA Archive)

Electric vehicles accounted for almost one in two new cars bought in London last month, it has been revealed.

Almost 6,000 fully electric or hybrid plug-in cars were registered in London in June, outselling conventional petrol cars by more than 200 vehicles. The figures, from New AutoMotive, a non-profit organisation aiming to accelerate the move to electric vehicles, show London continues to lead the rest of the country in switching to greener forms of motoring.

It comes after the Standard launched a major campaign, Plug It In, to highlight the benefits and explore the challenges of the capital going electric.

Battery electric cars, which rely solely on electric power stored in an on-board battery, were the second most popular type of new car after petrol, with 2,932 registered in the capital last month.

Hybrid electric cars, which have a smaller battery and a conventional internal combustion engine which kicks in on longer journeys, were only slightly less popular, with 2,909 registered.

It means 5,841 new electric vehicles were registered — compared with 5,628 petrol cars and 697 diesel cars. A total of 1,167 fewer patrol cars were registered in London last month than a year earlier. Monthly diesel sales have roughly halved year on year.

Ben Nelmes, head of policy and research at New AutoMotive, said: “Almost 3,000 Londoners made the switch to [fully] electric cars, and will save money on fuel and help improve London’s air quality.”

Fully electric cars account for 24 per cent of new vehicle registrations in London, compared with the UK average of 16 per cent.

Today’s figures also highlight the difficulty many motorists face in going electric, due to parts shortages caused by the pandemic. Total car registrations in London were down by around 2,300 on a year ago.

Mr Nelmes said: “Retailers tell us that waiting times for deliveries of electric cars can be up to a year as demand continues to exceed supply.”

The high price of fuel — a litre of diesel remained at 199.9p at some garages in London yesterday — and the imminent expansion of the ultra-low emission zone across Greater London by next August is encouraging drivers to switch to electric.

The Government has banned the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. Mr Nelmes said a Government requirement for 22 per cent of all new cars sold by manufacturers by 2024 to be zero emission was not ambitious enough, as London had already exceeded the target.

Electric vehicles are seen as key factor in cutting carbon emissions from exhausts, though concerns remain about PM particulates emitted from brakes and tyres.

Last month the Standard revealed that more than 10,000 electric vehicle charging points had been installed in London but thousands more were needed to cater for the expected surge in demand.

Mayor Sadiq Khan predicts 40,000 to 60,000 chargers will be needed by the end of the decade to meet soaring demand.