Zero-emissions capable cars, including electric, hybrid and fuel cell models, account for a one in three of the available models in the UK, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
As car showrooms re-open for the first time since January 5, SMMT analysis shows there are 460 individual models on sale and almost 140 powered by electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid or fuel cell powertrains.
The organisation says new vehicle uptake is crucial to the UK reaching its emission reduction goals, as older, less efficient cars are taken off the road and replaced by the latest lower emission ones. According to SMMT data, the average new car in 2020 emitted 21.7% less CO2 than its 2010 counterpart.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After one of the hardest years in living memory for everyone, reopening showrooms today takes the handbrake off UK Auto. With the widest and greenest choice of cars ever seen, unleashing pent up consumer demand can accelerate the industry’s recovery and that of the economy. As the automotive sector counts the cost of £22.2 billion lost in turnover during the pandemic, we hope today marks the start of that recovery, as well as giving consumers ever more choice for their motoring needs.”
Despite the variety available and anticipated consumer demand, the car industry has warned that a full recovery by the end of the year remains highly challenging. New car registrations during Q1 2021 were 37.1% down on the average for 2010-2019, and for levels to return to ‘normal’ by the end of the year would require keys to a new car being handed over every 12 seconds.
The SMMT hopes the broad range of vehicles on offer will tempt fleet and retail buyers to invest in new models.