THE number of electric vehicles in Swindon more than doubled last year, new figures show.

The government is aiming to entirely phase out petrol and diesel-powered cars by 2030, with battery electric vehicles planned to account for all car sales by 2035.

Auto Trader said the recent surge in electric car ownership is a positive sign, but the vehicles are often still too expensive for many people to make the switch from petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.

Department for Transport figures show there were 18,211 battery-electric vehicles in Swindon at the end of last year.

This is very nearly 10,000 more than the 8,239 vehicles parked around the town at the end of 2020, and represents a 121 per cent year-on-year rise.

Altogether, 9,972 electric vehicles were newly registered in 2021, which is 25 per cent more than the 6,999 newly-registered cars from the year before.

Across the UK, the number of electric vehicles on the roads almost doubled, increasing by 94 per cent from 215,000 at the end of 2020 to 420,000 last year.

On average, an electric car will emit around one-third less carbon dioxide than an equivalent petrol or diesel car, according to European clean transport campaign group Transport & Environment.

Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, said the automotive industry has responded well to the government's electric car drive.

He said: "Over the last year, we’ve seen significant strides in range capability, as well as a growing choice of makes, models and body types, right now there’s one new electric vehicle coming onto the market per week."

But he also stressed the need to further invest in charging ports, saying drivers must have confidence in being able to charge their cars to help make the transition from fossil fuels.

The government hopes to install 300,000 public charging points by 2030, 18 times the number a decade previously.

There is some concern regarding the price of electric vehicles, which still represent a small share of the overall automotive market.

Mr Plummer said: "With the average electric vehicle costing around 30% more than traditionally fuelled alternatives, they remain out of reach for all but the most affluent car buyer."

With petrol and diesel prices soaring, drivers may be tempted to turn to cars which can be plugged in and charged.

Plus, a home charging point will usually be fitted for free when you buy an EV car.