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Drivers embracing alternatively fuelled vehicles, says RAC

The RAC has welcomed figures showing growing uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles as it points to its own research showing that drivers are ready to make the switch to such vehicles.

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show overall new car registrations declined in April, with both diesel (-9.4%) and petrol (-3.0%) registrations down to 46,589 and 104,221 units respectively. In contrast, AFVs were up 12.7% to 10,254 units. As a result, the alternatively fuelled vehicle share of the new car market reached 6.4% compared to 5.4% for April 2018.

AFVs also saw the biggest rise for year-to-date registrations, with a rise of 14.3% to 51,091 units. Diesel registrations for the first four months of the year were down 18.4% to 238,373 units while petrol demand was up 4.2% to 572,636 units.

Commenting on the figures, RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: “We are getting close to a tipping point where buying an electric vehicle is an increasingly credible option for many. The factors that influence choice are beginning to line up to make an electric vehicle (EV) a wise option for many drivers including: a greater, more diverse range of vehicles; significantly improved battery range; and an improving charging infrastructure. Ultimately price is the biggest sticking point although prices will begin to fall as demand grows.

“Our latest RAC Report on Motoring found that one in ten drivers would consider purchasing a pure electric vehicle (3%) or a plug-in hybrid (7%) as their next car, and 17% would consider a conventional hybrid. Those saying they would go for a conventionally-fuelled vehicle are in decline with 52% opting for a petrol engine and 18% for a diesel.  Two-thirds of drivers (67%) say they would require a minimum EV range of at least 300 miles between charging, and half (50%) said the maximum time to fully recharge a vehicle mid-journey would have to be no more than 30 minutes.”

“A third (36%) of drivers see themselves buying a pure electric vehicle within the next 10 years and half (49%) within 15 years. So the RAC is gearing itself up to deal with higher volumes of EVs on our roads, including equipping some patrol vans with new lightweight EV Boost portable chargers.”

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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