Sheffield sees rise in number of electric vehicles

Sheffield saw a surge in the number of electric vehicles registered in the area last year, figures suggest – although the trend was driven mainly by companies.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 11:52 am
New electric car charging points have been installed in the Carver Lane car park
New electric car charging points have been installed in the Carver Lane car park

The Labour Party says the Government needs to do more to make eco-friendly cars more affordable for families across the UK.

Department for Transport statistics show 2,547 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) were licensed in Sheffield at the end of last year – 1,021 more than at the end of 2019, when there were 1,526.

The figures include battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

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But of the additions, 665 were registered 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.

It added that significant changes in the number of vehicles from year to year can happen when companies change their registered address.

Overall, ULEVs still only accounted for around 1% of all vehicles licensed in Sheffield at the end of 2020 – in line with the UK average of 1.1%.

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 Sheffield, 1,221 of the ULEVs licensed at the end of the year were battery electric vehicles – defined as zero emission.

A further 1,225 were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which combine an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine.

Across the UK, 64% of ULEVS registered for the first time last year were battery electric vehicles, while plug-in hybrid electric vehicles accounted for 35%.

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.”