Nissan Motors has used dubious statistics to claim there will be more public electric car charging stations than fuel stations in the UK in 2020, and the story has been repeated by many major news outlets.

It also used sales figures to suggest electric vehicles have reached the tipping point for mass uptake, even though they accounted for just 3% of the market last month.

The company contrasts the decline in numbers of filling stations in the UK, down from 37,539 in 1970 to 8,472 at the end of 2015, with the rapid growth in charging points and claims the figures will crossover.

Overlooking the fact that the decline in filling stations has tailed off in the past three years, with a net change of just -3 between 2015 and 2016, it claims that if the long-term trend continues, then by August 2020 there will be 7,870 filling stations and charging stations will have reached 7,900.

Nissan also cited Go Ultra Low, the joint government and car industry campaign, as saying more than 115 electric cars were registered every day in the first quarter of 2016, equivalent to one every 13 minutes. It added that the campaign believed electric power could be the dominant form of propulsion for all new cars sold in the UK as early as 2027, with more than 1.3m electric cars registered each year.

The latest sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) for the year to date show that market share of alternative fuelled vehicles increased to 3.2%, compared with 2.7% for the same period in 2015.

Edward Jones, EV manager, Nissan Motor (GB), said: “As electric vehicle (EV) sales take off, the charging infrastructure is keeping pace and paving the way for convenient all-electric driving. Combine that with constant improvements in our battery performance and we believe the tipping point for mass EV uptake is upon us.

“As with similar breakthrough technologies, the adoption of electric vehicles should follow an ‘S-curve’ of demand. A gradual uptake from early adopters accelerates to a groundswell of consumers buying electric vehicles just as they would any other powertrain.”