Cars produce more than half of all of the UK's transport emissions and while the zero emission vehicle mandate is in place, the UK still has a lot to do to achieve the transition

Charging up the EV transition

In 2024 the UK government put the zero-emission vehicle mandate in place in the UK. With gradually increasing mandated sales targets for ZEVs, the mandate should oversee the transition to a mass EV market meaning that by 2030, 80% of the new cars sold in the UK will be zero emission, reaching 100% by 2035.

This is a world-leading policy, that Transport & Environment UK was instrumental in securing. While the ZEV mandate will secure the change we need in the long-term there is much more to be done in securing the EV transition in the UK - especially in the context of economic squeezes that are acutely affecting the country, rampant electric vehicle misinformation, and inconsistent government policy and messages.

52% of UK transport emissions (2023) came from cars and taxis

Over 1 million battery electric vehicles are registered on the UK’s roads.

32.5M cars registered in the UK

59,590 EV chargers across the UK

Delivering the transition

Electric vehicles are an essential part of the future of road transport in the UK and with them come a number of opportunities like the reinvigoration of British industries like car manufacturing, the creation of new industries like battery production and recycling as well as charging rollout and maintenance, and the creation of a fair and equitable transport system.

While charging rollout is going very smoothly in the UK, with charger growth rates at 40% year-on-year, there is still work to be done to ensure rollout is being spread evenly across across the country. While the majority of drivers will be able to charge at home, the public charging network will play an important role in the EV transition - to ensure the charging network is supporting, rather than hindering, EV uptake drivers will need a reliable, accessible and fairly priced network. 

Misinformation is a significant problem and barrier to EV uptake in the UK. As T&E UK has found, information about charging times, battery longevity, and even the phase-out for new petrol and diesel car sales has been distorted with people thinking much more pessimistically around the realities of having an EV.

SUVs have significant popularity in the UK. Unfortunately, electric SUVs are not appropriate for most of the UK’s roads but, more importantly, are largely unaffordable for most families in the UK. T&E UK is advocating for action on SUVs, ensuring that manufacturers are producing the small, affordable BEVs that will actually make a difference to people’s lives. Additionally SUVs pose a higher risk to other road users such as cyclists and are putting pressure on small roads across the country. Weight or size-based taxation, parking policies that charge more for larger cars, and limits on the size of cars could all help solve the problem of SUVs in the UK.

Finally, we need action to guarantee battery health, to speed up the reskilling of the maintenance and repair sector and to see government work with consumer groups and the automotive and BEV industry to develop a robust communications strategy to more effectively communicate the benefits of switching to a BEV and the support that is already in place.

Key statistics

UK total road transport emissions (2022)
Share of emissions from cars (2022)

52% of UK road transport emissions

Charge growth rate in the UK

Year-on-year there was a 47% increase in chargers between March 2023 and March 2024

Car production in the EU (2022)