Road Safety News

New milestone for ‘alternatively fuelled vehicles’

Friday 10th February 2017

The percentage of new car registrations that were alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) reached a market share of 4% for the first time in January 2017, new figures have shown.

Published on 6 February, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show that of the 174,564 new cars registered last month, 7,279 were AFVs (4.2%).

In January 2016, 6,072 AFVs, which include electric and hydrogen vehicles, were registered - a market share of 3.6%.

The UK new car market achieved a 12-year high in January 2017; the figure of 174,564 represents a 2.9% year-on-year rise and is the highest number since 2005.

Across the market, private motorists led the growth, registering 76,729 new cars, up 5.0%. Fleet demand also grew marginally by 1.4% to 91,181, while business registrations fell by -1.0% to 6,654.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “2017 got off to a good start in the new car market, buoyed by a great range of new models which are safer and cleaner than ever before.

“It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share.

“After record growth in 2016, some cooling is anticipated over the coming months, but provided interest rates remain low and the economy stable, the market is in a good position to withstand its short-term challenges.”

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Perhaps I shoud have said 'instant braking' rather than 'instant stopping' Rod, which as you say, is not possible.

Driving with the left foot poised over the brake pedal - which a two-pedalled car such as with an electric motor (no gears) - rather than three, does facilitate instantaneous braking however and therefore shorter stopping distances, which is why I highlighted it with reference to potential collision reductions.

I'm not a fan of driverless cars, however their stopping ability will be quicker and possibly more abrupt than a driven car for the same reason, so more rear end shunts may result. Anyone remember some cars of the '60s with disc brakes which had boot stickers to warn close following drivers!?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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In which case I apologise for the assumption. However, if I may say so, your comment seems to rather ignore the laws of physics.

Apart from having a different fuel to provide the power to make the wheels go round, there is not much difference in either the stopping or acceleration of AFVs that could make an appreciable difference to safety. Whilst some may have regenerative braking this is no more effective than normal caliper/disc braking. The thinking time in an emergency stop is, as you would expect, identical regardless of whether you are used to plugging in an electric cable or a petrol pump nozzle.

The idea of "instant stopping" is a myth usually peddled by those who think that their increased brake disk diameter allows them to travel faster due to their ability to "stop on a sixpence". It doesn't matter how big your brakes, the limiting factor is the coefficient of friction between your tyres and the road.

I suspect that if there was any difference statistically between normal and AFVs then it probably the attitude of their drivers who may well be either smoother drivers, or are easing their car along before the battery runs out.
Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

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Baffled by your commnet Rod - care to elaborate? There was no sarcasm intended at all.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Alas, I suspect some may not realise your sarcasm! Am surprised there was no mention of sixpences.
Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire

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It might seem tenuous at first galnce Rod, but AFVs, expecially the electric motor powered type, only need two pedals: 'go' and 'stop' and no infernal clutches and gears to change, leading to smoother, more relaxed driving and almost instant stopping ability (left foot braking) which does have a beneficial effect on collision reduction.
Hugh Jones,Cheshire

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I am not sure whether this has a road safety content because the AFV cars are somehow considered inherently safer than normal fuel cars (which I doubt), or that there is a recognition that road safety extends beyond direct casualties from collisions and now includes the considerable negative health effects of fuel emissions. If it is the latter then I welcome this recognition.
Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

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