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One million electric vehicles on UK roads shows growing EV confidence

Latest SMMT report indicates that more than one in five new cars will soon be EVs

Million EVs

The recently-extended 2035 petrol-and-diesel-car sales ban may still be a way off, but interest in EVs has continued to surge nonetheless, meaning there are now more than one million electric cars populating UK roads.

According to a new report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there have now been more than 1,001,677 electric cars registered since 2002, with almost 21,000 having been registered in the first month of 2024 alone.

An end-of-year report by the SMMT previously revealed that EVs accounted for roughly 20% of all new car sales in 2023; the British trade association now estimates that this will also be the case for 2024, with electric vehicles expected to make up more than one in five new car sales, despite only comprising 14.7% this past January.

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Pleased with the latest figures and cautiously optimistic about the future, SMMT chief exec, Mike Hawes, said: “It’s taken just over 20 years to reach our million EV milestone – but with the right policies, we can double down on that success in just another two.

“Market growth is currently dependent on businesses and fleets. Government must therefore use the upcoming Budget to support private EV buyers, temporarily halving VAT to cut carbon, drive economic growth and help everyone make the switch.”

Of course, the UK still remains one of the very few major European countries that doesn't offer any kind of EV incentive. The old plug-in car grant was discontinued in June 2022 and, despite the fact that EV prices are slowly coming down, the majority of models still remain out of reach for many buyers. This is on top of the fact that the UK’s electric-car charging infrastructure still lags behind demand, with trade body ChargeUK continuing its calls for the government’s aid in order to speed up deployment of public rapid chargers.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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