• Ultra low emission vehicles account for more than half-a-million cars on British roads, as more drivers make the switch to zero-emission motoring
  • Landmark figure revealed ahead of UK hosting COP26 later this year
  • The news comes as stats reveal that nearly one in seven new cars sold in 2021 so far have a plug

The UK is accelerating further towards a greener transport future, as stats released today (Wednesday, 5 May) reveal that over half-a-million ultra low emission vehicles are now being driven on roads across the country.

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.

The UK is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, with the Government committing to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and to ensure all new cars and vans will be zero-emissions at the tailpipe by 2035.

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.”

The Government has pledged a £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and drivers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. This will help us meet our climate change obligations, improve air quality in our towns and cities and support economic growth, with vehicles built here in the UK.

A significant number of EV models have seen price reductions in recent months – making them more accessible and affordable for motorists around the country – as more and more people make the switch to ultra low emission vehicles.

More affordable batteries also mean that manufacturers have been able to increase the range of these vehicles, with many EVs now able to drive over 200 or even 300 miles on a charge so that motorists can use them for longer journeys.

Not only that – today, a driver is never more than 25 miles away from a rapid chargepoint anywhere along England’s motorways and major A roads and 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. The Government 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.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “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.”