A report by the Department for Transport (DfT) shows a significant change in the way motorists are using electric vehicles.

The government body's report, entitled 'Uptake of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles in the UK', draws on the research from almost 50 UK and international sources, suggests a high proportion (82%) of ULEV-owning households in the UK use their electric car as their main vehicle.

One in five (20%) owners say that their electric vehicle is the only car they use, despite the popular perception that figures were the other way around.

ULEVs are also not restricted to short-distance journeys according to the glowing report on the change of electric car usage patterns. In fact, plug-ins are being driven for comparable mileages to petrol and diesel cars.

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Households with ULEVs as the main car see an average annual mileage of approximately 8,850 miles. This figure is much larger than with the estimated UK average for all cars of 8,430 miles, according to National Travel Survey data.

The increase in popularity of ULEVs come as no surprise to Transport Minister Andrew Jones, who predicts further developments in the coming years.

"As this report shows, plug-in vehicles are cheap to run, can be used every day and owner satisfaction is incredibly high," says Mr Jones.

"More and more families and businesses are choosing plug-in cars and vans to help them get on in life.

"The government is investing £500 million over the next five years in ultra low emission vehicles, innovative technology and charging infrastructure to support jobs and growth and keep Britain as a global leader for ULEVs."

The DfT's report echoes similar points made by government and industry electric vehicle body Go Ultra Low, who have been campaigning for increased purchase consideration of ultra low emission vehicles.

Hetal Shah, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: "This new government report goes a low way to challenge the misconceptions many people still have when it comes to plug-in vehicles and reflects what is happening in the market place - demand is increasing rapidly, up 256% year on year in the UK.

"Brits are really starting to wake up to benefits of electric motoring. With driving costs from as little as 2p a mile, coupled with the wide range of cars now available, from city run-arounds family hatchbacks to 4x4s and sports cars, there's an electric car to suit almost every lifestyle."

Other factors that have influenced ULEVs uptake include public incentives and the growing charging infrastructure.

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