Figures reveal half-a-million ultra-low emission vehicles now on UK roads

New statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) have found that ultra-low emission vehicles now account for more than half-a-million cars on British roads.

This comes as statistics from the SMMT show that 13.6% of new cars sold in the last four months had a plug, with ultra-low emission cars accounting for more than 1 in 10 sales last year, up from 1 in 30 the year before.

However, the research from SMMT also found that sales of electric vehicles had slowed following a cut to the Government grant for low-emission vehicles.

In April, 9,152 battery-powered cars were sold, accounting for 6.5 per cent of total registrations for the month. This is in contrast to the 7.5% average for the first three months of the year, making it the lowest monthly share of the market overall since August 2020.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After one of the darkest years in automotive history, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A full recovery for the sector is still some way off, but with showrooms open and consumers able to test drive the latest, cleanest models, the industry can begin to rebuild.

“Market confidence is improving, and we now expect to finish the year in a slightly better position than anticipated in February, largely thanks to the more upbeat business and consumer confidence created by the successful vaccine rollout. That confidence should also translate into another record year for electric vehicles, which will likely account for more than one in seven new car registrations.”

The figures also come ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow this year, and Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “As hosts of COP26 we want to drive decarbonisation on the global stage, which is why we’re going further and faster to make the journeys of our future as clean as possible.

“With news that the half-a-million milestone has now been met, together with the UK now having the second largest EV market in Europe, it’s clear that the shift to green motoring is accelerating at speed.”

In a statement published by the Department for Transport, it stated that Government has pledged a £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and drivers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. It also claimed it has committed to provide £1.3 billion over the next four years – from the wider supportive package – to encourage the continued roll-out of chargepoints on motorways and major A roads, in homes and businesses and on-street.

The figures also revealed that a driver in the UK is never more than 25 miles away from a rapid chargepoint anywhere along England’s motorways and major A roads. It also found that the UK already has a network of over 23,000 public chargepoints, with more fast chargepoints per 100 miles of key strategic road than any other European country.

Mike Hawes, added: “The automotive sector is transforming the way we drive, investing billions in ever-greener and cleaner vehicles across the range, with one in four available models now capable of being ‘plugged in’. Over half a million people are already convinced by the incredible driving experience, and we hope millions more will make the switch as Britain strives to become the best place to build, buy and drive electric vehicles.”

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