While electric cars may not have taken off as quickly as the likes of Renault and Nissan had hoped, the latest figures from the government’s £5,000 electric car grant scheme show that sales have leapt 25% in the last quarter.
A total of 1,149 electric cars were registered in Q3, not only a 25% improvement over Q2, but the most successful quarter since the government scheme began back in January 2011, indicating that consumers are starting to understand the technology and its limitations rather better.
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This news comes as the Renault-Nissan alliance has been forced to admit it is not going to reach its self-imposed target of 1.5 million electric car sales by 2016. CEO Carlos Ghosn now believes that milestone isn’t likely until 2020 at the earliest.
Ghosn blames the lack of charging infrastructure for the slower than anticipated pace of electric car growth. However, increasing competition in the electric car marketplace is sure to spur an improvement in this area, even as it makes life more difficult for trail-blazing models such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.
For while the superbly engineered Volkswagen XL1 will be out of reach for most people, the remarkable new BMW i3 is not that much more expensive than the Leaf, and seems destined to move the electric car game on substantially.
Then there’s the Tesla Model S, which is due to go on official UK sale in the new year. And although this will be priced far higher, as a decidedly premium product it can only be good news for the electric car’s image.
At the other end of the scale, value brands are also aiming to get in on the action; MSN Cars has already driven a prototype version of the all-electric Kia Soul, which is also heading for sale in the UK in 2014.
We won’t be seeing the back of petrol and diesel any time soon, but it’s clear that electric cars are here to stay. What would it take for you to consider buying one?