Under 1,000 new electric cars have been sold since the beginning of the year in the UK, down 33.7% on a year ago, industry figures have revealed.

It would appear more people are opting for hybrid vehicles powered by a petrol or diesel engine and supplemented by an electric motor, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Sales of these ultra-low emission vehicles since the start of the year down by 19% while over the longer term the number of all-electric cars sold is up with 13,600 sold last year.

That’s up 32.5% from 2016 but still accounts for just 0.5% of total new car sales.

Source: SMMT

Sales could fall further as a government grant of £4,500 ends next month, it was reported by the Times newspaper.

Mike Hawes, the society’s chief executive, said told The Times the low sales reflected “consumer concerns around charging infrastructure availability and affordability”.

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By GlobalData

If zero-emission vehicles are to become mainstream in future, long-term government support with a consistent approach to incentives and tax, and greater investment in charging infrastructure will be critical.

It’s thought the rise of electric cars in Europe is being hampered by a lack of models for consumers to choose from rather than a lack of public recharging points, according to energy companies and car makers.

The Platform for Electromobility – whose 31 members include Tesla, Renault-Nissan, Brussels-based campaign group T&E and industrial groups Siemens and Alstom – found there are already enough points in Europe.

Across the EU, there are around six electric cars for each public charging point, almost twice as many as the ten cars per point recommended by the European Commission.

By comparison, carmakers have launched only a small number of fully electric models. There are just 20 battery electric vehicles on sale in Europe against 417 conventional petrol and diesel ones, according to T&E.

Source: Platform for Electromobility