Take-up of ultra low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) is soaring, according to the Department for Transport. Its latest figures show 9,657 ULEVs were registered in the UK in the last quarter (April to June), an increase of 49% on the same period last year and 253% on two years before. The rise comes following the extension of the plug-in car and van grant scheme, allowing more than 100,000 additional drivers to benefit until at least 2018.

The government is spending £600m in this parliament to support the rise in ULEVs to achieve its target for almost all cars and vans to be zero-emission by 2050.

DfT says the move to electric vehicles will help the UK cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

Roads minister John Hayes said: "I am delighted to see more drivers are choosing electric vehicles."