Electric vehicle charge point in Ireland, via PAElectric vehicle charge point in Ireland, via PA


UK’s electric vehicle total poised to hit one million mark this month, says RAC Foundation

  • New analysis predicts 1m total for EVs in January
  • RAC Foundation hails ‘major milestone’
  • But recent fall in pump prices isn’t helping car dealers sell EVs
  • Car makers now have to sell a growing percentage of EVs a year
  • However, people are under no obligation to buy them

Time 8:48 am, January 4, 2024

The number of pure-electric vehicles on UK roads is set to reach one million this month.

That’s according to new analysis by the RAC Foundation, which said more than 967,000 EVs were licensed at the end of November – up from 674,000 at the end of 2022.

The figures are based on analysis of data from green consultancy New AutoMotive.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said the one million figure will be ‘a major milestone’, but he also emphasised that it should be kept in perspective as EVs only make up about 3% of all cars on UK roads.

He told the PA news agency: ‘At a time when hard-pressed people are acutely aware of the cost of living, the price of buying and running a battery-powered car both have to stack up.

‘Ironically, the recent fall in pump prices, hugely welcomed by tens of millions of drivers, does few favours for salesmen seeking to shift EVs based on their relative running costs.

‘Car makers are now under a legal obligation to sell a growing percentage of EVs each year.

‘But with the public being under no obligation to buy them, the pressure is on for the auto companies to come up with keenly priced offers that will tempt car buyers to make the switch.’

Under the zero-emission vehicle mandate that came into force yesterday, at least 22% of new cars sold by each manufacturer in the UK this year must be 100% emission-free, which generally means battery EVs.

The threshold will rise each year until it reaches 100% by 2035.

Manufacturers that fail to abide by it or use flexibilities – such as carrying over allowances from previous years – will have to pay the government £15,000 per polluting vehicle sold above the limits.

Last September, Rishi Sunak delayed the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK from 2030 to 2035.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘It is great to see the number of zero-emission vehicles on our roads growing rapidly, showing many drivers are choosing to make the switch already.

‘Our zero-emission vehicle mandate will support manufacturers on the path to 2035, while boosting the economy, and we have spent more than £2bn to support the transition to electric.’

December’s new car sales figures will be released by the SMMT tomorrow at 9am.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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