As the boom in new car registrations in the UK begins to stabilise after an unprecedented period of growth, one sector is defying the trend and continuing to gain market share at a pace. Alternatively fuelled vehicles, mostly using electric or hybrid powertrains, are showing sales growth outstripping their traditional combustion engined powered rivals, with a market share up from 2.8 per cent a year ago to 3 per cent in November this year.
AFV Sales Up
In fact, last month’s new car registrations figures, as published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), show that year on year alternatively fuelled vehicles’ (AFV) sales were by 8.6 per cent upon November 2014. Sales for the year to date display an even better picture, with 41.1 per cent more AFVs sold for the first 11 months of this year compared to the same period in 2014. Furthermore, the SMMT expects to see continuing growth in 2016.
While consumers have been slow to appreciate the virtues of AFVs, manufacturers are increasingly devoting large amounts of resources to the research and development of cleaner automotive technologies, mostly in the form of electric vehicles and their associated components and supply chain, such as batteries and toroidal transformers. It seems that concerns about the extra purchase costs and range limitations are the main reasons that consumers are hesitant to swap their traditional petrol and diesel cars for AFVs, so the onus is on the manufacturers to find ways to bring costs down and increase power storage methods.
The Role of Motorsport
This is happening, albeit slowly. The AFV model line up has expanded massively over the last few years and the cars that are currently available to consumers using electric or hybrid power are smarter, more practical and better to drive than ever. Additionally, motorsport is making ever more use of electric power, and as motorsport technologies invariably get passed on to production car manufacturing, AFVs should soon benefit from this exciting resource – a new style of battery or toroidal transformer technology debuting in motor racing in 2015 could well be applied to production models within a year, and it is motorsport technology which is driving production car development these days.
Overall the future for alternatively fuelled vehicles looks very bright indeed.