The UK's Uptake of Electric Vehicles in Numbers



UK's Uptake of Electric Vehicles 

There has recently been a surge in the market for alternatively fuelled vehicles, with electric vehicle registrations being up 256% year-on-year from January 2015 – June 2015 compared to the same period last year.

​Alternatively Fuelled Vehicle Sales By Region Comparison 2014 - 2015

Data from


Source: Bodyshopmag 

The south west of the UK has seen the biggest surge in uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles, with a 420% year-on-year increase in registrations, comparing January – July 2015 with the same period of the previous year. Comparatively, Scotland has seen the smallest increase in the adaption of electric and hybrid vehicles, with a 128% increase.

​Vehicle Sales By Make 2014 

Data from


The Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV was the bestselling vehicle in 2014 with 5,370 vehicles sold. The Nissan Leaf comes in second with 4,051 sales. The Nissan Leaf remains the UK’s all-time bestselling car from 2010 – 2014, accounting for 31.9% of the total market share, or 7,197 vehicle sales.

The increase can be explained in a number of ways. Electric vehicles are exempt from paying road tax, which can tempt road users into purchasing an electric vehicle. There are also government grants available that can cover up to 35% of a vehicle up to the value of £5,000. On top of the availability of grants to purchase a vehicle, they are comparatively cheaper to run with fuel costing approximately 1/5 of the price of an average vehicle’s fuel cost. One of the major factors dissuading people from buying electric vehicles was the lack of charging point infrastructure, but since 2011 – June 2015 the number of charging points has increased from a few hundred to 8,400. On top of this, owners of diesel vehicles are finding themselves being increasingly penalised, especially in London where a council has increased the price of parking permits for owners of diesel cars and proposals have been made for the introduction of a “pollution penalty”. 

Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicles Market Share Growth 2013 - 2014

Data from


Source: SMMT

The alternatively-fuelled vehicle sector increased its share in the market from 2013 - 2014. Demand for ultra-low emissions vehicles rose significantly, with registrations for plug-in vehicles rising from 3,586 in 2013 to 14,498 in 2014. 

The future of electric and hybrid vehicles looks promising, with the increase in new technologies. Concerns from the public regarding electric vehicles are being addressed, such as the lack of charging points and limited range of some vehicles. The UK is currently set to trial electric highways that have the ability to charge a vehicle as it is being driven which will save motorists time having to stop and re-charge their vehicle.  The government grant available to those who wish to purchase electric and hybrid vehicles has also been extended to 2016, which will quash concerns of those who were predicting that consumers would have to foot the bill themselves. 

However, from 2017, 95% of new vehicles will pay £140 per year, regardless of whether they are low-emissions or not, the only vehicles that are exempt from this are zero emissions vehicles. Vehicles worth over £40,000 will be hit with a £310 surcharge, which could affect some hybrid vehicles. 

Photo c/o khengsiong

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