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Electric Car Statistics – Is the UK ready to switch?


Learning from Electric Car Statistics

With the decision to delay the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035, there are questions about the UK’s readiness for the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate. Considering the statistics can help us understand the landscape of electric cars in the UK, and how soon we can expect to have to embrace electric cars. 

The current UK goal is to have 80% of new cars sold in 2030 to be zero-emission vehicles. With an aim of increasing this to 100% by 2035. This is one of the most ambitious mandates for switching from traditional petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles (EVs) in the world. But are we ready for the switch?

Quick Electric Car Statistics

  • Over 800,000 new electric vehicles were registered on UK roads in 2023.
  • Electric vehicles are estimated as around £150 cheaper to maintain annually when compared to petrol and diesel cars.
  • The overall average cost of a new electric vehicle is £40,248.
  • There are currently 59,620 electric vehicle charging points across the UK.
  • Tesla accounted for 14.1% of all electric vehicle sales in the UK in 2022. 

How Many Electric Cars are in the UK?

2023 saw over 800,000 new electric vehicles registered on UK roads. Contributing to the over one million electric cars in the UK. 

There are various types of electric vehicles, and each one differs in how they are powered, and their emissions rates. Breaking these down, we can see more specifically what type of electric vehicles are used in the UK. 

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) – These are powered by an electric battery alone, and charged from external power sources, so they have no emissions.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) – Have a petrol or diesel engine alongside a chargeable battery. This battery is charged from external sources and can only have zero emissions when driven in their electric-only modes.
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) – Like PHEVs, these have engines and batteries, but their battery is charged by the breaking and cruising movements in the car.
  • Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEV) – These are powered mainly by petrol and diesel engines with some backup from a battery. These have no option for zero-emissions driving. 
Electric Vehicle TypeUK Registrations in 2023UK Market Share in 2023
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)238,54416.4%
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)98,9936.8%
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)182,55612.6%
Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEV)279,18319.2%
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The UK’s Path to Electric Only Cars by 2035

Industry figures show that 20% of new cars sold in August 2023 were zero-emissions cars. So the government seems in a good position to meet the 2024 requirement of 22%.

But with this target taking a huge hike to 100% by 2035, some vehicle manufacturers have expressed serious doubts, saying the targets should be reduced. 

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper claims that the path to zero-emission vehicles is proportionate, pragmatic and realistic for families. And several schemes have been put in place to help with upfront and long-term running costs for new electric cars. 

Charging Station Growth

It’s hard to miss the growing number of charging points for electric cars around the UK. Since 2016, these have increased by 400% from 12,180 to 59,620 in 2023.

New goals are to reach 300,000 charging stations across the UK by 2030. This aims to meet the predicted demand and make electric car ownership practical and accessible, even for those in remote and rural areas.

Projections for future increase in electric car charging stations in the UK

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Electric Car Production and Sales

Some car manufacturers are better known than others for producing electric cars. However various car manufacturers have moved to developing electric cars, giving more options and accessibility at different budget levels. 

Make of electric carPercentage of UK electric vehicle sales (2022)
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As well as new cars, there has also been an uplift in the used electric car market. Used battery electric vehicle sales rose 57% between the first quarter of 2022 and the same period in 2023.

Affordability and Government Initiatives

The cost of electric cars is predicted to remain consistent until at least 2028. And in 2023, the average cost of new electric vehicles is estimated as:

  • Overall average cost of electric vehicles – £40,248
  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)- £38,969
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) – £43,6714

The UK government is actively promoting switching to electric vehicles with schemes like plug-in van grants to reduce the upfront purchase costs. 

These costs are also somewhat offset by lower running costs, with electric vehicles estimated to be around £150 cheaper to maintain annually when compared to petrol and diesel cars.

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEM) Mandate Targets

A full breakdown of the UK’s uptake targets for zero emission cars is as follows:

Year2024 2025 2026 202720282029
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*Target will be set out in future legislation later in the decade

What Happens to Petrol and Diesel Cars after 2035?

It’s important to know that the ban on petrol and diesel cars in 2035 only applies to new vehicles. So if you already own, or buy a second-hand petrol or diesel car at this time, it will still be legal to own and drive. 

The UK is setting significant targets as it moves towards electric vehicle adoption. And with 800’000 new electric vehicles being registered this year, sales are moving in the right direction. Targets are being backed up by practical measures like increasing the number of charging stations, buying incentives, and more options from car manufacturers. These measures make transitioning to electric vehicles a more realistic option for UK drivers and kickstart an exciting leap towards a sustainable future.








This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes

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