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Used car buyers charge toward electric models

Electric surge

THEY ARE expensive to buy, for the most part travel less than 200 miles before running out of power and take an age to recharge — but that isn’t deterring drivers from buying electric cars.

Sales of secondhand vehicles in the third quarter of 2017 have been given a boost by the number of drivers switching to used electric cars.

Sales of plug-in models rose by 66% to 2,858 cars over the July to September period, versus the same period last year. Including hybrids, alternatively-fuelled vehicle registrations rose 17% to 25,196 units. The trend comes against an overall decline in used car sales of 2.1%, to 2.1m, with a 6.5% fall in petrol-powered models and — against a backdrop of anti-diesel sentiment — growth of 4.2% for diesel models.

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Taking top spot was the Nissan Leaf, a five-door family hatchback that offers a driving range of up to either 124 miles or 155 miles. The battery is leased from the manufacturer and is replaced during its eight year warranty period should capacity drop below 75%.

Experts say increase is partly explained by the slow but steady increase in choice of electric models, as well as the number of finance arrangements ending on cars owned from new, which leads to more models entering the used car market. At the same time, drivers’ acceptance of electric car technology is improving against a backdrop of negative reports over emissions of diesels.

Simon Benson of AA Cars, said: “Sales of both electric and hybrid used vehicles were up considerably, closely reflecting the healthy demand that’s been seen in the new car market.”

Sales of new electric cars had climbed to 11,217 by the end of August, a surge of 37%. New plug-in hybrids rose by 15% to 24,276, and regular hybrids grew by almost 50% to nearly 58,000 sales.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The used car sector remains in good health as motorists take advantage of some great deals on cars – including some of the latest low emission diesel and alternatively fuelled vehicles.”

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