The future is approaching faster than you think.

Figures reveal a new electric car was registered every nine minutes last year in the UK.

Electric car registrations continue to set records in the UK, with the number of new, 100 per cent electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles registered growing last year to 59,911 — 19 per cent up on 2017 making it the most successful year to date for electric cars.

Not only does the figure equate to a new registration every nine minutes, it also marks a 19 per cent increase in sales of EVs compared to 2017.

The end-of-year figure marks a continued trend of consumers and businesses switching to ultra-low emission vehicles. The fourth quarter of the year saw a further 15,057 plug-in cars registered between October and December in 2018.

Once again, plug-in hybrids accounted for the bulk of the market, with 74 per cent of registrations. Pure electric cars also saw a significant boost in 2018, up 14 per cent on the previous year. This takes the number of 100 per cent electric and plug-in hybrid cars registered in the UK to date to 196,343.

2018 has been the seventh consecutive year of growth for the electric car market, thanks to the increasing number of models available for consumers and businesses alike, as well as a trend for consumers making more sustainable choices.

In fact, recent research by Go Ultra Low found that 18 per cent of Brits would like to make the switch to an electric vehicle in 2019.

The year ahead looks promising with a range of new models set to hit the market in 2019, including the new all-electric Kia e-Niro, Audi e-tron and recently announced Nissan LEAF which will feature an increased battery size.

In Australia, we don’t seem to be as turned on about EVs, with the switch to electric vehicles not happening as quickly, probably due mainly to a lack of Government support or incentives.

Last year privates buyers purchased just 245 electric cars and 4101 hybrids, compared to 191 and 2403 in 2017 — increases of 28 and 70 per cent respectively.

Business and government purchases on the other hand accounted for 401 electric and 8627 hybrid sales — up around 25 and 17 per cent.

The figures are a drop in the ocean, with total sales of motor vehicles last year reaching 1,153,111.

As an aside, LPG sales have dried up completely, with the demise of Ford and Holden’s homegrown product — there wasn’t a single sale in 2018.

In a challenging market, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) made no reference at all to EV sales this time around in its review of 2018.

It was more concerned about the down turn in overall sales, with a market that contracted three per cent in total for the year.

“New vehicle sales results in 2018 reflect a challenging climate across the Australian economy including a slowing housing market, tightening of money lending and the drought” chief executive Tony Weber said.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.