Last year, more electric and hybrid cars rolled out of UK showrooms than ever before – even as overall demand for new cars fell for the first time in six years.
New vehicle registration figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that the number of new alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFV) grew by 34.8%.
A sharp 17.1% reduction in demand for diesel vehicles contributed to overall registrations dropping 5.7% last year.
Of the 2.5 million new cars registered in the UK last year, AFVs accounted for 120,000 of the total, taking the eco-friendly market share to 4.7%.
Environmental campaigner Tony Juniper told the BBC’s Today programme that demand for electric cars was increasing “at a rate that’s defying predictions that were being made five or 10 years ago”.
“Partly this is being driven by the kinds of awareness around air pollution, but also climate change,” he added.
But others are more concerned about the drop-off in diesel vehicles, which are more fuel-efficient than petrol engines over longer journeys.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes has acknowledged that electric cars are the future but says they still account for a very small proportion of total sales.
He blames “confusing” anti-diesel messages for a fall in total sales and claims that they make it harder for car manufacturers to meet emissions targets.
Electric car servicing in Manchester
As registrations of electric, hybrid and other alternative-fuelled cars accelerate across the UK, demand for electric vehicle servicing is also increasing.
Technicians at Duffy Motors’ city centre workshop have been undergoing specialist training to enable them to work safely and competently on these kinds of vehicles.
Our aim is to become the number one choice for electric and hybrid vehicle servicing in Manchester.
How are electric cars serviced?
One of the advantages of wholly-electric cars is that they are easier and cheaper to maintain than cars with more traditional fuels.
Unlike petrol and diesel cars, electric vehicles don’t need exhausts, catalytic converters, starter motors, spark plugs, oil, cool systems, engine dampers, fuel injection systems and many other components to work.
Electric cars aren’t exactly simpler than diesel and electric cars, but they do have fewer components that can go wrong – and fewer parts that would need maintaining or refilling during a ‘traditional’ service.
There is no need for oil changes or emissions checks, and because some electric vehicles use regenerative braking to recharge batteries, electric car brakes last a lot longer as well.
Electric cars also rely heavily on software upgrades.
As part of its sales pitch, Tesla invites you to think of its cars as like apps on wheels.
The company’s cars are all connected to the internet and can self-diagnose their problems. They can also download software fixes and updates to address problems that might emerge – negating the need to head to a garage in the first place.
This is part of the reasoning behind why Tesla offers an ‘infinite mile’ warranty on its cars.
A statement from Elon Musk on the company’s website says: “If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines, with far fewer moving parts and no oily residue or combustion byproducts to gum up the works, then our warranty policy should reflect that.”