It’s no surprise Vauxhall wants some help persuading motorists to buy electric cars, as sales remain worryingly slow. According to data from the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), only 812 battery models have been bought so far this year, despite the incentive of the £5,000 Government grant. The Nissan Leaf remains by far the most popular choice, with 499 finding homes, but none of the other five models available has sold even a quarter of that figure – Citroen has shifted only 21 examples of its C-Zero. Yet while the electric car outlook is bleak, it’s a different story for the rest of the market, with SMMT figures showing that new car sales are picking up. In August, registrations rose by 7.3 per cent – the first increase in 13 months. SMMT chief Paul Everitt put this down to a boost in fuel economy across the industry and the wide range of new models available. “Buyers can find something to suit every taste and pocket,” he said. Biggest gains were in the mini and supermini segments, which were up 34.5 and 17.6 per cent respectively on 2010 figures.