Sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) saw record sales in March while plug-in hybrids also enjoyed a bumper month, new figures show.

The latest monthly sales figures, provided by SMMT, the industry association, reveal sales of battery EVs grew again in March, rising 3.8% on the year, powered by corporate fleet purchases.

The association said the increase in corporate fleet purchases of EVs was driven by “compelling tax incentives”.

But overall the market share for EVs fell by !% on the year, amid a tough economic backdrop making it more challenging for consumers to invest in new eco-friendly technologies.

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Meanwhile, sales of HEVs hit record levels during the month, rising by 19.6% to 44,550 units and capturing 14% of the overall market, while the biggest percentage growth was recorded by plug-in hybrids, up by more than a third to 24,517 units, or 7.7% of all new registrations.

Revealing the new figures, the SMMT has again called for tax changes, including for VAT on EVs to be temporarily halved.

SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: “Market growth continues, fuelled by fleets investing after two tough years of constrained supply. A sluggish private market and shrinking EV market share, however, show the challenge ahead. Manufacturers are providing compelling offers, but they can’t single-handedly fund the transition indefinitely. Government support for private consumers – not just business and fleets – would send a positive message and deliver a faster, fairer transition on time and on target.”

Figures published last year showed that one battery EV was being  registered every 60 seconds.

The government has set out its path for all new cars to be ZEV by 2035, in an effort to provide clarity to manufacturers.

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