The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced new figures showing that the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads grew to 1.1 million.
The total number of cars on the road increased 0.5% to a record 40.7 million, with car ownership rising for the first time since before the pandemic in 2019.
New technologies have cut the average vehicle CO2 emissions by -1.6%, with one in every 32 cars now an EV.
SMMT said the receding threat of the pandemic meant more people were driving, with record numbers of HGVs and vans in service. However, the number of buses fell to an all time low with 16,608 fewer than a decade ago.
SMMT’s annual Motorparc data showed that the number of cars in the UK rose by 124,393 to a total of 35,148,045.
Despite this, emissions fell overall, driven by the 1,089,241 EVs on the UK’s roads, which SMMT said had grown by “more than half over the last year, to reach 3.1%” of total vehicles.
There was also a big increase in ownership of commercial EVs, with a 67.3% increase in electric vans, and a 34.9% increase in electric buses and coaches. In addition, “the number of zero emission trucks has almost trebled since last year – although they still account for fewer than one in 600 in use,” SMMT said.
SMMT has recently called for a zero-emission heavy-good vehicle (HGV) infrastructure strategy for the UK, which it said would save 21.1 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
The big increase in EVs means that the number of chargepoints rolled out is lagging behind. In 2021 there was one public chargepoint per 31 EVs, falling to one for every 36.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “We are driving Britain towards a net zero future with more than a million zero emission vehicles now on the road and cutting carbon. With exciting new technologies and models fuelling our appetite to get back behind the wheel, now is the time to commit to greater investment in infrastructure and incentives, to speed up a switch to carbon-free mobility that is accessible to all.”