One in five cars sold in 2016 will be electric, predicts UK's power chief

The boss of Britain's electricity network has delivered an upbeat assessment on electric vehicle (EV) sales in the country, suggesting that they could account for a fifth of all vehicles sold as soon as 2016.

Steve Holliday, the CEO of National Grid which is responsible for routing power across Great Britain, said that his company believes that one million electric cars will be on the road by 2020.

His calculations are that one in five cars sold in the UK from 2016 will be electric, with government subsidies spurring buyers to opt for the greener vehicles.

The outlook is optimistic by most global standards - J.D. Power & Associates believes that hybrid and electric vehicles combined will only capture 7.3 percent of global sales by 2020, well short of Holliday's predictions.

Even Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn predicts only a 10 percent market share for EVs by 2020, already considered a relatively high figure.

Nevertheless, as head of the organization responsible for charging all of Britain's electric vehicles, Holliday's comments are an interesting insight and particularly timely given that the UK's first electric vehicles are about to hit the road.

Mitsubishi's i-MiEV is expected in UK showrooms in the coming weeks and Nissan's Leaf is due to begin sales in March 2011.

They are both priced at around the €33,000-€35,000 mark in Europe, but British buyers will benefit from generous subsidies of up to £5,000 (€5,960) and a rapidly expanded charging network is key urban areas such as London.

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