The number of EVs on the roads has finally overtaken plug-in hybrids for the first time – a milestone in the car industry’s switch to zero-emission motoring.
Analysis by recovery service the RAC found there are 332,299 electric vehicles on the road, compared with 327,183 PHEVs.
The news follows the highest single month for EV registrations in September, when 32,721 were sold. This is compared with 21,903 in the same month last year.
EV numbers reach record high
Full EVs now make up 50.4% of plug-in vehicles on the road, up from 46.3% a year ago.
Plug-in hybrids have traditionally been considered a transition vehicle, providing the zero-emission-capable driving of electric with the reassurance of a petrol or diesel engine for longer journeys.
However, the new figures show there has been a major shift in attitude in favour of electric.
Electric vehicles still only represent 1% of vehicles on the road, but their growth has been huge in recent years with the number doubling from to over 37,000 from 2018 to 2019, and almost tripling to 108,000 the following year.
This now looks like the end of the road for diesel
It is believed this year will see a new high of 175,000 sales, a number that would have been higher if the semiconductor chip crisis had not hit car sales so badly.
RAC director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha said: “Sales of electric cars have also eclipsed diesel sales by a huge margin with three battery-electric cars sold for every one new diesel car that went onto the road.
“This now looks like the end of the road for diesel as nearly 67,000 fewer diesel cars were registered this September than was the case in September 2019, representing an astonishing 86% drop in just two years.”