Sales of plug-in cars have increased more than 15% in January, compared with the same period last year. Interestingly though, it is not plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) that have driven growth this time around, but pure electric models (EVs).

Over the past few months, sales of EVs have been flat or even slightly in decline. However, with more than 1,000 units registered in January 2017, compared to January 2016’s 584, the pure electric market has grown 73%.

In comparison, PHEV registrations have decreased slightly, to 1,563 units in January 2017 from last year’s 1,683 – a decline of 7%. Combined, registrations of plug-in models in January 2017 come to 2,573, an increase of 13.5% over the previous year.

Registrations of Plug-in Car Grant Eligible (PiCG) vehicles is slightly higher still, at more than 15%, with the figure excluding those PHEVs that cost more than £60,000 or that don’t meet certain emissions of range criteria.

All increases in registrations come against an overall market that grew 3%, with almost 175,000 new cars registered in January. In total, sales of plug-in vehicles accounted for 1.5% of the new car market in January.

Although it is not clear why this reversal in fortunes for EVs and PHEVs has come about, it perhaps has something to do with forthcoming VED changes due later this year. With many plug-in cars requiring a longer time between order date and delivery because of demand, some buyers could be put off by buying a PHEV that is likely to arrive after the changes come into effect, and therefore incur higher tax costs.