Sales forecasts predict there will be over 6,500 more low-emission hybrid cars on London’s roads by 2008, each benefiting from the 100 per cent discount from the daily £8 congestion charge. To meet this demand, Honda is trebling supply of its petrol-electric Civic Hybrid in the UK to 3,000 during 2007.
SMMT figures show that from 2005 to 2006, the percentage of hybrid cars in London rose from 1.03 per cent to two per cent.
Honda’s sales figures confirm the regional growth, with a third of recent orders for its Hybrid coming from London and the South East – influenced largely by the impact of congestion charging on buying habits in and around the capital.
‘Hybrids are now mainstream cars,’ said John Kingston, Environment Manager at Honda (UK). ‘Global demand is increasing and across the world we are ramping up production to meet that interest. It’s true that more people want to drive “greener” cars, but financial incentives such as congestion charge discounts and lower road tax are also playing their part.’
Public and private sector organisations are also playing their part in adopting hybrid technology. Last year, in the biggest hybrid fleet deal to date, the Metropolitan Police ordered 117 Civic Hybrids. Other companies running Honda hybrid cars include Innocent Drinks and Clearchannel.