A survey by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has suggested that sales of diesel vehicles may be overtaken by hybrid and electric vehicles in as little as 18 months. The unit, a think tank, suggested that the tipping point for sales could be reached by mid-2019.
This figure was reached after analysing sales over the last year. Industry statistics revealed that diesel sales are down by almost a third compared with the same month last year. It’s the seventh month in a row that diesel sales have declined, and the largest monthly drop in nine years.
At the same time, sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles – plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles – rose by 37 per cent.
If current growth figures remain as they are, hybrid and EV sales would overtake diesel by January 2021. But, factoring in a more rapid change due to legislation against diesel owners would see the date bought forward to May 2019.
Sales of diesel vehicles in October fell by 29.9 per cent, with 62,349 cars sold. That’s still a long way ahead of alternatively fuelled vehicles, which sold 8,244 units in the same period – an increase of 36.9 per cent.
However the think tank predicts within 18 months diesel sales would have declined to 42,181 while hybrid and EV sales would increase to 43,471.
The study notes, though, that it will be a much longer period before plug-in vehicles are the majority on the roads. Despite increasing sales, only 352,000 of the UK’s cars are hybrids or pure electric cars – that’s compared to 12 million diesels and 18.4 million petrols.
Matt Finch, business and economic analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said it was possible that the number of hybrid and electric cars on the road would overtake diesels between 2024 and 2027.
“What you are seeing is a steady drip of news and policy announcements that’s pointing to the end of diesel. There’s no nudge the other way and this tide will just keep coming. If you’re thinking of buying a new car, the fact is that diesel has a bad name at the moment and electric vehicles are getting better and better.”