Rising number of electric vehicles in Dacorum
But the Labour Party says the Government needs to do more to make eco-friendly cars more affordable for families
More Dacorum drivers are going green as the number of electric vehicles registered in the area surged last year, figures show.
But the Labour Party says the Government needs to do more to make eco-friendly cars more affordable for families across the UK as national data suggests uptake as a whole is being driven more by companies.
Department for Transport (DfT) statistics show 981 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) were licensed in Dacorum at the end of last year – 265 more than at the end of 2019, when there were 716.
The figures include battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles.
Of the additions, the majority (203) were registered to private keepers, while 62 were to the addresses of local firms.
The DfT said a vehicle’s address does not necessarily reflect where it is located, especially for large fleets kept by companies for leasing or rentals.
Overall, ULEVs still only accounted for around 1 per cent of all vehicles licensed in Dacorum at the end of 2020 – in line with the UK average of 1.1 per cent.
The Government has committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and ensuring all new sales are “zero emissions at the tailpipe” by 2035.
In the DfT figures, a ULEV is defined as a vehicle with reported tailpipe CO2 emissions of fewer than 75 grams per kilometre, which means not all of them would meet this new requirement.
Across the UK, around 431,600 ULEVs were licensed at the end of 2020 – an increase of 162,300 over the year.
The majority of the spike – around 101,800 – were company-registered.
In March, the Government cut grants for electric car buyers from £3,000 to £2,500 and lowered the cap of eligible cars to £35,000, down from £50,000.
"With the climate emergency worsening, increases in electric vehicle sales are always welcome,” said Kerry McCarthy, Labour's shadow minister for green transport.
“However, rather than encouraging this trend, the Government seems to be doing all it can to stifle progress by slashing subsidies to electric vehicles and failing to set out a roadmap to smoothly transition away from petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.
“We need to see a clear, long-term vision from the Government to support the British car industry, as well as action to support electric vehicle sales, making them affordable to families and rolling out adequate charging infrastructure."
In Dacorum, 523 of the ULEVs licensed at the end of the year were battery electric vehicles – defined as zero emission.
A further 407 were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which combine an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine.
Across the UK, 64 per cent of ULEVS registered for the first time last year were battery electric vehicles, while plug-in hybrid electric vehicles accounted for 35 per cent.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said that more alternative fuel cars were registered across Great Britain for the first time last year, although this includes some types of hybrid vehicles not classed as ULEVs.
“This is proof that more people are moving away from diesel cars, as we build back greener and clean up the air in our towns and cities,” she added.
“With £2.8 billion of government support to encourage their take-up, there has never been a better time to switch to an electric vehicle.”