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UK electric car sales reach a record high

But they still only made up 4.2 percent of new vehicles.
Nick Summers, @nisummers
February 6, 2017
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Miles Willis via Getty Images

Electric car sales are slowly rising in the UK. Fresh figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 7,279 "alternatively fuelled vehicles" were registered in January. That's a 19.9 percent increase from the 6,072 reported last year. The category is still dwarfed by traditional gas guzzlers -- more than 78,000 diesel cars and 88,000 petrol cars were registered last month -- but progress is being made. Electric and hybrid vehicles made up 4.2 percent of new cars in January, beating the previous record (3.6 percent) set in January and November last year.

The interest in electric vehicles is growing. Most manufacturers are developing 'green' cars now, which is giving British customers more options to choose from. The number of electric chargers is also increasing -- following Tesla and Ecotricity, Shell has announced plans to launch a small charging network in the UK. That should help solve the long-standing 'chicken and the egg' problem. To persuade people to buy cars, you need more chargers. But to justify new chargers, you need more people buying cars. Thankfully, the situation is improving on both sides. Fingers crossed a certain Tesla accelerates the process later this year.

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