Demand for electric cars surged by 26% in January, taking the total market share to 6.8%, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) .

Sales of electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars reached 11,014 in January, an increase of 2,295 compared to the same period last year.

Overall, 161,013 new cars were registered in January, a fall of 1.6%, with demand for Petrol cars up 7.3%. It was also another month of decline for diesel, as registrations fell -20.3%.

Forecasts for the Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) predict a rise of more than a quarter by the end of 2019 to around 177,000 vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “It’s encouraging to see car registrations in January broadly on par with a year ago as the latest high tech models and deals attracted buyers into showrooms. This, however, is still the fifth consecutive month of overall decline in the market.”