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Number of plug-in cars rose by three-quarters in 2018

Motors | Published:

There are now nearly 200,000 such vehicles on the UK’s roads

New Kia electric car

The number of plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars rose by 76.6 per cent in 2018, according to new data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The data shows that there are now 195,410 plug-in vehicles on UK roads. Ownership of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) also rose by 30 per cent, meaning that combined there are more than 620,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell and fully electric cars in the UK.

That’s still a fraction of the total, though – there are now 34.9 million cars registered in the UK. It’s a diverse bunch, too, with 1,600 model ranges and almost 68,000 different specifications registered.

The increase in popularity of AFVs, combined with advancements in petrol and diesel engines, means that the average CO2 levels across manufacturer fleets have fallen to the lowest on record. They’ve been reduced by 17.8 per cent compared with 2008 – 143.9g/km compared to 175.1g/km.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Thanks to massive investment from manufacturers in delivering a wide range of models across all fuel types, to suit all driving needs, environmental gains are now being delivered across the UK. Ever-more advanced in technology makes every new generation of vehicle more efficient than the last, and this is filtering rapidly from the new car market into the broader parc.

“Fleet renewal is proven to work so we need a world-class package of incentives and infrastructure to give motorists the confidence to buy the latest, cleanest cars, whatever the fuel type, in the greater numbers we need to meet environmental challenges.”

The SMMT’s data also shows that female car ownership is at a record high. 2018’s level rose by 1.4 per cent compared to 2017, and now more than 12 million of the UK’s cars are owned by women.

Diversity may be rife in ownership, but the data shows that the UK is still an unimaginative bunch when it comes to car colours. The top five is almost totally monochrome, with silver, black, grey and white the most popular choices. Blue does nip into third place, however.

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