The market for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) has reached a tipping point and is about to take off in the way the internet did in the 1990s, according to roads minister Andrew Jones.

Speaking at the Chargemaster Electric Vehicle Charge Event, he said: “The shift we are seeing reminds me of the spread of the internet in the 1990s. The internet started small, as a niche interest, but then it snowballed, and now it’s hard to imagine being without it. We are seeing a similar picture emerging for ultra low emission vehicles in Britain today.

“ULEV sales are not just growing rapidly, they are rocketing. Plug-in vehicle registrations reached a record high in 2015, as 28,188 new ULEVs arrived on UK roads, more than the past five years’ totals rolled into one.

“The UK now has the most comprehensive rapid chargepoint network in Europe, and home-grown companies such as Chargemaster are making the UK’s ULEV industry a private sector success story.”

Jones said the government had allocated £600m to support the ULEV market over the next five years, and by 2050, it aimed for almost all cars and vans to be zero emission.

He emphasised the infrastructure being put in place to support ULEVs, adding: “The internet only really snowballed when internet users, providers, website retailers and investors came together in sufficient numbers to create a tipping point. We’re reaching that tipping point with the ULEV market.”