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Number of electric cars on UK roads reaches highest level as more drivers tempted to make the switch

The society detailed how despite more vehicles on the road, average car CO2 emissions dropped 2.1 per cent while company car emissions plummeted by 11.5 per cent as more organisations switched to offering EVs to employees.

Mike Hawes, chief executive at the SMMT, said: “After two challenging years of constrained supply, more people and businesses across the UK are now getting back behind the wheel – and increasingly, opting for greener options.

“However, given the ageing fleet, we now need to encourage consumers and businesses who have deferred purchases of new cars, vans, trucks and buses to upgrade.

“A stronger and stable economy, coupled with reduced living costs, would boost consumer and business confidence, while compelling fiscal incentives would ensure that these purchases are emissions free.”

EV van volumes rose by 43.5 per cent to 61,161 with 1.2 per cent of vans on UK roads now zero emission.

The speedy increase follows the Governments ambitious plans to have 70 per cent of vans be zero emissions by 2030.

Electric HGVs however had one of the largest increases, going up by 146.4 per cent in 2023, although they represent just 0.4 per cent of the fleet.

The race to switch to electric has been building momentum all year, but the SMMT warned urgent action is needed to help more drivers buy one.

The number of electric buses in operation also grew by 159.4 per cent to 1,922 units, making the UK Europe’s biggest market for zero emission buses and coaches.

While overall EV use continues to grow over all with more than 1.6million plug-in cars, vans, trucks and buses in operation, there is still not enough public chargepoints, the society stated.

To combat the costs and availability issues, the Government said it will install more public charging stations this year alongside its grants.

The grants help lower the upfront costs of buying a EV and offer up to £2,550 for small vans and £5,000 for large vans until at least 2025 and £350 off the cost of homeplace chargepoints for people living in flats.

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Quintan Barnes
Quintan Barnes
Apr 30



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