UK trade body BVRLA has said that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have become the most popular type of vehicles on its leasing fleet overtaking petrol vehicles.

The association’s latest Leasing Outlook report says that BEVs make up 32% of the new orders.

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney made the announcement as part of the recent Fleets in Charge Conference.

Keaney said: “Battery electric vehicles are dominating the order banks for company and salary sacrifice cars. This sector could hit the Phase-out target with years to spare. New electric car registrations have now overtaken petrol.

“Momentum for electric cars is building but will only continue if the Government resists the urge to pull the handbrake by introducing a major hike in benefit-in-kind tax.”

BVRLA estimates that in the next 12 months, the number of BEVs on its leasing fleet will rise a further 40%.

According to July’s Leasing Outlook report, business contract hire is returning to growth as the personal contract hire (PCH) continues to close the gap in terms of the total fleet split.

PCH is up 7.5% year-on-year, with salary sacrifice the most dynamic subsector, which grew 41.2% to reach a total of 35,134 cars, the vast majority of which are BEVs.

In vehicle type, vans led the way growing 12.8% to reach 496,911 units. Had more new vehicles been available that figure would have been greater. When it comes to EV uptake, the van market is still behind cars.

Addressing delegates at BVRLA’s Fleets in Charge Conference, Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “The BVRLA and its members are leading this vital transition. Ten years ago, EVs were probably seen as a bit eccentric or a luxury that only a few could afford. I am delighted that we are turning that narrative on its head, in no small thanks to the actions of so many in this room.

“Zero emission vehicles are now more affordable, more popular, more important than ever and our best bet to a greener and low emission future.”

Last month, BVRLA urged the Chancellor to keep the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rates low to promote EV uptake.