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Mitsubishi bucks trend as government continues to ignore potential of technology

Mitsubishi bucks trend as government continues to ignore potential of technology
Mitsubishi Motors in the UK continues to buck the trend in the plug-in hybrid market with the UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which once again topped the sales charts in June.

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has sold 3,647 Outlander PHEVs in the first half of 2019 despite increasingly difficult market conditions. According to the SMMT, overall sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles are down 50% compared to June 2018 as the government’s disregard for this important technology takes hold. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV remains the best-selling plug-in vehicle (PHEV or EV) in the UK and sales are resilient at the same level as 2018’s figure for the first half of the year. Other, less well-established models are failing to find customers as the lack of meaningful financial incentives and a lack of government support leaves many customers reticent about taking the plug-in plunge for the first time.

The government’s assertion that the PHEV market is well established and the focus should immediately shift to pure EVs is misplaced. The charging infrastructure is not fit for widespread EV adoption and is struggling to cope with the relatively tiny number of EVs currently on the road. PHEVs, however, reduce the demand on charging infrastructure in the short-to-medium term as drivers have the option of using an efficient petrol engine to supplement electric power on longer drives and ensures that any journeys within towns and cities can be made silently and cleanly in EV mode, improving air quality for everyone.

A recent, independently-conducted survey of Mitsubishi Motors PHEV customers show that, despite government claims, 90% of customers charge their vehicles regularly (at least 2-3 times per week), 68% charge every single day and half of their weekly mileage is conducted in pure EV mode. With transport CO2 emissions on the rise as consumers move away from diesels, PHEVs again offer an immediate alleviation to the problem without requiring any additional infrastructure or huge shifts in user habits.

Rob Lindley, Managing Director, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK said “While the Department for Transport has incentivised the purchase of just over 197,500 plug-in vehicles in total, this is over the course of four years and it’s a tiny drop compared to the 10 million petrol and diesel vehicles sold in that time. Instead of growing, the market share of plug-in vehicles is now shrinking which makes it difficult to understand how this can be considered progress. We are calling on the government to work with the industry to put together a package of incentives to encourage the adoption of all progressive technologies and outline how this plan would move drivers to a pure EV future over the course of the next decade, for example.

“Recent sales figures prove, however, that while customers want to do the right thing and buy a more environmentally friendly vehicle, they need incentives, both financial and social, along with assurances that their investment will retain its value down the line – both of which could be provided with a clear governmental timetable and framework.”