Record numbers of people are buying ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
ULEVs emit less than 75g/km of CO2, which is low enough to avoid annual car tax (VED) and the London congestion charge. A total of 8,573 were sold in the first quarter of 2015 – a huge year-on-year increase of 386%.
The bestseller was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid, followed by the electric Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3. The BMW comes in both electric and plug-in hybrid guises, but both qualify as ULEVs.
Fourth place went to the Renault Zoe and – just to prove that ULEVs can be genuinely exciting – BMW’s radical i8 sports car finished fifth.
The growth in ULEVs has been even greater on commercial fleets. The SMMT reports a 421% increase in fleet and business ULEV sales over the same period.
Interestingly, the figures also show that car buyers in the south are most likely to opt for an ULEV, followed by London and the east of the UK, then Yorkshire and the north west. Drivers from East Yorkshire are least likely to choose an ultra-low car.
Hetal Shah of Go Ultra Low, a joint industry and government initiative, said: “The latest plug-in vehicle uptake figures prove that ultra-low emission cars and vans make sense for both private and business users, especially with the potential for fuel costs as low as 2p a mile and reduced whole life running costs.”