And last year 7% of new vehicles on the Island’s roads were electric or hybrids.
Statistics released to the JEP show that in 2015 a total of 2,408 diesel and 4,957 petrol vehicles were registered in the Island, alongside 40 electrics and 72 hybrids.
But figures for last year show a changing landscape on the Island’s roads. In the first 11 months of 2019 there were 1,336 diesel registrations, 4,131 petrol, 195 electrics and 234 hybrids. The total number of vehicle registrations was 7,491 in 2015, compared to 5,908 last year up to the end of November.
Each year since 2015 has seen a decline in overall vehicle registrations.
Constable Mike Jackson, chairman of the States Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny panel, said he was ‘disappointed’ by the number of new electric and hybrid cars in the context of growing concerns about carbon emissions.
The Island’s Carbon Neutral Strategy outlines the first part of a plan for Jersey to reach net-zero on-Island carbon emissions. Currently road transport accounts for the largest proportion of the 359,000 tonnes of carbon-equivelant gases – significant contributors to climate change – emitted each year.
Mr Jackson said: ‘Clearly the message that diesel is worse than petrol for private vehicles is getting through, so there has been a particular drop in diesel.
‘In terms of commercial vehicles, there is no electric alternative to diesel at this stage – we have seen this with the attempts to bring in an electric bus. But I’m sure it will come eventually.
‘You would like to think that the decline in diesel and petrol vehicle registrations is down to the climate-change emergency but it could be down to other things like Brexit and the economy.
‘But it was disappointing to see so few electric cars have been bought. I think it’s down to the cost.’
Mr Jackson said he felt that electric cars would only become mainstream when they start being sold second-hand.
‘A lot of people only buy cars when they are second-hand,’ he said. ‘It will be interesting to see how we compare to other jursidictions with these figures and this is something I will dig into in Scrutiny. I think the younger generation will be more likely to buy an electric vehicle than older people.’
Glencoe auctioneer Simon Drieu said that they had only ever auctioned one second-hand electric moped and no cars at all to date.
‘There’s no hard and fast rule about how long it takes for someone to own a car before they sell it second-hand,’ he said.
‘It usually takes a few years and I think we will see more second-hand electric cars coming on to the market as the trend for buying them moves forward.’
But Lee Le Feuvre, the manager of Castle Cars garage, said he struggled to see electric sales increasing because the facilities are not in place for them.
‘Everyone is talking about moving away from petrol cars and going electric but they can’t do it because the infrastructure is not there,’ he said.
‘And all they build nowadays in Jersey is flats and not houses, so how are people going to charge their cars if they are a few floors up?’