Drivers increasingly turn to electric cars

An electric car charging on the street. Picture: Getty Images

An electric car charging on the street. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number of electric cars on North Somerset’s roads increased by a quarter year.

Hundreds of environmentally-friendly vehicles are registered in the district's roads and the Green Party will hold an event next week in an attempt to boost that figure.

New Department for Transport figures show 568 electric vehicles were registered in 2018, up from 404 in 2017.

But back in 2013, in North Somerset, there were just 32 electric cars, which shows the progress the industry has made.

Over the past few years manufacturers have increased the range of their vehicles, and prices have fallen, helping fuel the rise in environmentally-friendly vehicles.

And with cars' distance ranges increasing, so has their popularity, with the Nissan Leaf the most commonly bought.

North Somerset Council received a six-figure sum in 2017 to provide electric fleet cars and agreed last year to put charging points at Portishead's Parish Wharf Leisure Centre.

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Over the next year BP will install charging points at its petrol stations, following Shell's roll-out in 2017. Dyson has also said it plans to release an electric car by 2020.

The Green Party is holding a public event next week to increase public awareness of electric cars.

Karin Haverson, who was elected to North Somerset Council to represent Banwell and Winscombe at the start of the month, said: "There will be plenty of opportunity to exchange experiences, ask questions, chat about how easy and pleasant to use electric cars are and how their carbon footprint compares with an ordinary car - one tonne of CO2 per year compared with three to six tonnes."

One advantage electric car users have over other vehicles is that they do not have to pay road tax, as they do not release any emissions.

Electricity is far cheaper than petrol and diesel.

However, in November, the Government reduced the maximum discount electric car buyers could get from £4,500 to £3,500.

Plug-in vehicles still make up a tiny percentage of the cars on the road in North Somerset: there are 568 electric cars, and 145,517 vehicles in total.

The meeting will be held at Yatton's Hangstones Pavilion, in Stowey Road, on June 4 at 7.30pm.