Three quarters of a million EVs on UK roads

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that there are three quarters of a million electric vehicles on UK roads.

By the end of 2021, there were 748,349 electric cars, vans buses, and trucks on the road, an increase of 71% on 2020, with growth in all areas.

The SMMT has divided up the EV figures, with 720,053 cars, 26,990 vans, 993 buses, and 313 trucks able to be plugged in.

Electric vehicles make up 1.85% of total UK vehicles on the road, and electric cars account for 2.06% of total cars, with just over 35 million cars registered.

The statistics come as part of the SMMT’s 2021 Motorparc information, with the total number of vehicles increasing 0.4% over the previous year, despite car ownership dropping 0.2%.

This data looks at all vehicles registered as being road legal in the UK, rather than the more familiar SMMT stats of monthly new car registrations. As such, it gives a good indication as to how the number of electric vehicles is coming along in total, rather than simply new registrations.

For example, despite electric cars seeing significant growth over the past few years, with the large number of vehicles on the road already - 40,506,971 as of the end of last year - it’s clear that the change over to electric models will still take some time.

Considering the average age of a car on the road being 8.7 years, and the first mass-market EV only reaching the UK 11 years ago in 2011, we are only going to see the EV market make up more ground, and rapidly, in the coming years.

The statistics also don’t take into account the 77,064 pure-electric cars and 36,210 plug-in hybrid registrations until the end of April, which account for 21.1% of newly registered electric cars in 2022 to date.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Britain’s switch to electric vehicles continues to gather pace, with a record one in five new car registrations now plug-ins. However, they still represent around one in 50 cars on the road, so there is significant ground to cover if we are to fully decarbonise road transport at pace.”

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:31st May 2022

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