EVs drive down carbon emissions and lift vehicle ownership to record high

  • Number of vehicles on UK roads reaches record 41.4 million in 2023, with car ownership up 1.6% to 35,694,845 units.
  • The average car in use saw CO2 emissions decline by -2.1%, notably thanks to incentivised investment by business fleets into EVs.
  • One in 40 of all vehicles on roads now zero emission, including 960,896 cars, 61,161 vans, 2,383 HGVs and 1,922 buses.
  • Industry calls for more rapid EV infrastructure investment to drive uptake as latest analysis shows just one standard public chargepoint for every 35 plug-ins on the road – a figure almost unchanged from last year.

The number of vehicles on UK roads reached a record high in 2023, rising by 1.7% to 41,404,589 vehicles, according to new Motorparc data published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) – with plug-in vehicles driving the biggest growth in car ownership since 2016.

EVs drive down carbon emissions

Total cars on the road rose by 1.6% or 546,800 units to 35,694,845, after almost half a million new battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles were registered during 2023. The number of BEVs in use increased by almost half (47.3%) compared with 2022, meaning these vital zero carbon emissions vehicles now account for 2.7% of all cars in use, up from just 1.9% in 2022.

With the industry now largely recovered from previous supply chain challenges that constricted deliveries in the aftermath of the pandemic, manufacturers could better meet robust pent-up demand.

Read more: SMMT

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