UK electric and plug-in car registrations rise as renewable energy generation hits new high

  • First half of 2017 sees record 22,480 plug-in cars registered in the UK
  • Half-year, quarterly and monthly records set following bumper June uptake 

The future for the UK’s roads looks greener than ever with UK car buyers registering more electric and plug-in hybrid cars during the first half of 2017 than in any previous six-monthly period. More than 22,400 plug-in models were registered between January and June 2017, a rise of 14.3% on 2016 and 53.8% up on the same period in 2015.

June exceeded all previous non-plate-change months with 4,405 new plug-in models sold during the month (33% up on June 2016). Demand from private buyers has driven growth with 44.9% more consumers opting for plug-in hybrid and electric power between January and June 2017, compared to the same period last year.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman, said: “It is great to see that electric and plug-in hybrid cars are helping more UK motorists to cut fuel costs and emissions. The total number of plug-in cars on our roads is at record levels, with the latest figures showing that there are now over 100,000 plug-in cars and vans registered in the UK.

“The UK is a world leader in tackling climate change and the Government is committed to supporting the transition to a low carbon economy and improving air quality. Our aim is that nearly all cars and vans on our roads are zero emission by 2050.”

The fully-electric Nissan LEAF was the UK’s best selling plug-in car in the first six months of 2017, while BMW’s plug-in hybrid 3-Series saloon was one of the year’s biggest growers, rising 79.9% following its launch last year.

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “Month after month we’re seeing record levels of registrations, demonstrating that the public awareness and appetite for electric and plug-in vehicles is growing. They are fast becoming a serious consideration for an increasing number of motorists who are switching on to the cost-saving and environmental benefits of driving an electric car. With fully-electric cars able to go further than ever, and an increasing number of plug-in hybrids on the market offering motorists the best of both worlds, it is harder than ever to ignore the benefits these cars bring.”

Looking at plug-in registrations across the country, the West Midlands (2,704) Greater London (2,477) and Cambridgeshire (1,928) topped the list of regions with the highest uptake. Greater London also saw the biggest year on year increase in counties registering more than 1,000 plug-in vehicles, with registrations up 68.6% on the first half of 2016.

The news comes as UK low carbon energy generation hit its highest share in 2017, regularly contributing more than 50% of the nation’s requirement*. As the UK’s energy-mix moves towards renewables, the environmental credentials of plug-in cars is enhanced further, accelerating the nation’s journey towards a low carbon future.

The combination of greater renewable energy generation and rapidly-increasing numbers of electric cars on UK roads is a positive sign for a future in which the environmental impact of road transport is a fraction of what it is today. More than 90%* of electric car charging takes place at owners’ homes, so a greener national energy mix enhances the environmental benefits of electric cars, building on their low running costs and convenience benefits.

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). Find out more about plug-in and hydrogen-powered cars and vans at


Notes to editors
Based on daily National Grid energy generation data from the Electricity National Control Centre
** Based on Chargemaster’s ‘charging events’ data for domestic and public charging from January to May 2015, profiled to be representative of the UK chargepoint infrastructure.

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 and hydrogen-powered vehicles on the market. The campaign works to educate public and fleet audiences about these vehicles, addressing myths and highlighting benefits, including how they offer competitive practicality for private and business users. 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-accessible chargepoints.

Twitter:              @GoUltraLow

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