There has been a major rise in registrations of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFV), according to figures for October from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with the market up more than 50% in both month and the year-to-date.

With two months still remaining in the year, registrations are already 12,000 ahead of the full-year total for 2013.

SMMT said petrol-electric hybrid cars have long been the most popular choice for AFV buyers, but other variants are gaining in popularity. Registrations of pure electric cars have more than doubled over last year, while those of plug-in hybrid and range-extended models look set to quadruple by the end of 2014.

It added that the constantly increasing range of models available was key to the surge in popularity. In 2011 buyers were restricted to just six plug-in models. Now there are 20 to choose from, in a range of body styles including coupés and SUVs.

However, AFV sales are still dwarfed by their conventional counterparts. While AFV registrations for the whole of 2014 are less than 45,000, overall car registrations passed the two million mark in October.

New car registrations jumped 14.2% in October to 179,714 units, marking the 32nd consecutive month of growth. This took the year-to-date total to 2,137,910, the first time the market has passed two million in October since 2007.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: “The October new car market outperformed expectations, with registrations showing the strongest growth in a month since March’s 18% rise. With economic confidence still rising, customers continue to benefit from attractive financial packages on exciting new models.

“We still expect the overall market to level off as we head towards 2015, but the exception to that rule will be alternatively-fuelled vehicles, demand for which will continue to accelerate.”