Boss of Nissan's Sunderland plant hails Leaf as fuel crisis sees electric vehicles overtake hybrids

The fuel crisis has seen a surge in sales for all-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf.

As drivers nationwide queued for petrol, September was the highest ever month for electric vehicle (EV) registrations, with 32,721 sold – a rise of more than 10,000 on August.

The news comes as the UK reaches a new milestone in the car industry’s switch to zero-emission motoring.

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The number of electric vehicles on the nation’s roads has overtaken plug-in hybrid vehicles for the first time.

The Nissan Leaf

Analysis by the RAC found there are 332,299 now electric vehicles on the road, compared with 327,183 PHEVs.

All-electric cars now make up 50.4%of plug-in vehicles on the road, up from 46.3% a year ago.

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Alan Johnson, Vice President, Manufacturing at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant, said: “The 100% electric Nissan Leaf remains as popular as ever with our customers, and our highly skilled team has now built more than 200,000 of these fantastic, pioneering, cars.

“With lower running costs than a conventionally powered car, and no need to worry about filling up at fuel stations, LEAF is at the forefront of our drive towards carbon neutrality, and leads the way as we electrify the rest of our range.”

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Electric vehicles still only represent one per cent of vehicles on the road, but their growth has been huge in recent years. From 2018 to 2019, the number of new EVs more than doubled to over 37,000, then nearly tripled to about 108,000 the next year.

It is believed this year will see a new high of 175,000 sales, a number that would have been higher if the semiconductor chip crisis had not hit car sales so badly.

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RAC director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha said: “Against a backdrop of generally poor new car sales, September was a milestone month when it came to battery-electric models. Nearly as many were sold in one month as were sold throughout the whole of 2019, and the figures suggest they are now a more common sight on the UK’s roads than plug-in hybrids.

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“Sales of electric cars have also eclipsed diesel sales by a huge margin with three battery-electric cars sold for every one new diesel car that went onto the road. This looks like the end of the road for diesel.”

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