2017: a record year for electric and plug-in car registrations

  • Best-ever year for 100% electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle registrations, up 27% year on year with sixth consecutive annual rise
  • Landmark year as total number of plug-in cars on UK roads passes 130,000, with numbers set to grow further in 2018 fuelled by expanding model choice
  • 2018 EV registrations could reach 60,000

Figures released today by Go Ultra Low show that 100% electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles achieved record-breaking levels of popularity in 2017. Unprecedented demand saw registrations increase by more than 27% on the previous year with an ever-expanding range of plug-in vehicles available to motorists. In 2018, annual electric car registrations could reach 60,000* for the first time, retaining the UK’s position as one of Europe’s largest markets for ultra low emission vehicles.

In a landmark year, the total number of plug-in cars on UK roads passed 130,000, as public and business appetite for plug-in hybrid and 100% electric cars reached a new high. From January to December, motorists flocked to buy ultra low emission vehicles, with 46,522 registered in 2017.

The Go Ultra Low numbers show that records tumbled throughout the year with every quarter comfortably out-performing 2016. The second half of 2017 recorded in excess of 24,000 registrations of 100% electric and plug-in hybrid cars – up more than 40% on July-December 2016.

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “2017 was a stellar year for electric vehicle registrations with strong growth of 27%, demonstrating the massive consumer appetite for 100% electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

“There are already more than 130,000 electric vehicles on UK roads, a figure that could  pass 190,000 this year as new models come to market and consumers reap the cost saving benefits of electric driving.”

Robert Llewellyn, actor, electric car expert and TV presenter, said: “I’ve been driving electric cars for eight years – they have proved incredibly reliable, cheap to run and easy to use. I’d urge everyone considering a new car to test drive a 100% electric or plug-in hybrid model. In my opinion, put simply, electric cars are the future.”

Across the country, several regions stood out with London (9,274) and Eastern England (8,685) registering the most electric vehicles (EVs), a rise of 42% and 21% respectively on 2016. Meanwhile, the South West and Scotland grew the fastest, boosting plug-in uptake by 140% and 70% respectively against the previous year.

The demand for 100% electric cars, such as the UK’s best seller – the Nissan LEAF, continued to grow with the sector’s registrations increasing by around a third, to top 13,000. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid cars like the popular BMW 330e, VW Golf GTE, and Hyundai IONIQ, delivered the highest volume of registrations with more than 33,000 arriving on UK roads, an increase of a quarter versus 2016.

Greater choice of models and growing consumer appetite for ultra low emission cars means that 2018 looks set to be another record breaking year. If similar growth continues, 60,000 vehicles* could be registered during 2018 taking the total number of plug-in cars on our roads to more than 190,000.

Top five UK regions – Plug-in car total registrations 2017 vs 2016

Go Ultra Low is a collaborative campaign and is the first of its kind, bringing together a consortium of vehicle manufacturers, government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Visitors to www.GoUltraLow.com can access a specially-developed interactive cost calculator and input their own vehicle type, fuel consumption and mileage data to gain cost saving-figures for owning a 100% electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.


Notes to editors

*At the current rate of growth (+27% in 2017), the 2018 market would achieve more than 59,000 registrations. Therefore, registrations could reach 60,000 before the end of 2018.

UK registrations of 100% electric and plug-in hybrid cars by region – 2017 vs 2016


Yearly Total 2017 Yearly Total 2016 Yearly % Change
EAST 8685 7193 20.7%
EAST MIDLANDS 826 700 18.0%
LONDON 9274 6541 41.8%
NORTH WEST 2398 1785 34.3%
NORTHERN IRELAND 576 436 32.1%
SCOTLAND 2292 1352 69.5%
SOUTH 5434 5461 -0.5%
SOUTH EAST 855 725 17.9%
SOUTH WEST 1058 440 140.5%
WALES 760 565 34.5%
WEST 1371 977 40.3%
WEST MIDLANDS 7987 6352 25.7%
YORKSHIRE 3649 2871 27.1%
Total 46522 36535 27.3%

Links to tools

Journey Cost Savings Calculator: www.goultralow.com/electric-car-savings/journey-cost-savings-calculator/

Home Charging Tool: www.goultralow.com/electric-car-savings/home-charging-calculator/

Journey Range Calculator: www.goultralow.com/how-do-you-charge-an-electric-car/journey-range-calculator/

Car Tax Calculator: www.goultralow.com/electric-car-savings/car-tax-calculator/

EV Car Selector: www.goultralow.com/choosing/electric-car-selector/

Charging Point Map: www.goultralow.com/how-do-you-charge-an-electric-car/charging-point-map/

About Go Ultra Low
The Go Ultra Low campaign aims to increase purchase consideration of electric vehicles by helping motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the wide range of plug-in vehicles on the market. The campaign aims to educate the public and fleet audiences about these vehicles by addressing outdated myths and highlighting benefits, including how they offer competitive practicality for both private and business users.

Goultralow.com provides a one-stop shop for information about owning and running electric vehicles, the makes and models available and the locations of the thousands of publicly available charge points.

Website:            www.goultralow.com
Twitter:             @goultralow
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LinkedIn:          www.linkedin.com/company/go-ultra-low
Instagram:        www.instagram.com/goultralowcars

PR contacts
For further information, images or comment, contact PFPR Communications:

Jon Visscher                                         Matt Moore

T : +44 (0)1622 776 680                         T: +44 (0)1622 776 681

M : +44 (0)7816 906 794                       M : +44 (0)7715 075 992

E : jon.visscher@pfpr.com                     E: matt.moore@pfpr.com

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