But that's about 1.4 percent of the total.

More than half a million cars on UK roads are now electric or plug-in hybrid, according to new figures from the government. The Department for Transport (DfT) said the “milestone” showed the UK to be “at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution”, and was an important step towards the aim to Johnson confirms ban on petrol and diesel sales will move to 2030.

According to the DfT, statistics released on May 5 show more than 500,000 cars on UK roads are now ultra-low-emission vehicles. That’s a catch-all phrase that mostly covers electric cars and plug-in hybrids, but can also include hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows there are around 40.4 million vehicles on UK roads, and about 35.2 million of those are cars. All of which means despite the government’s glee at reaching this milestone, ultra-low-emission cars still make up around 1.4 percent of the cars on British and Northern Irish roads.

2017 Renault Zoe

Nevertheless, there are other signs of optimism for those who support an all-electric future for cars. Figures released by the SMMT this week show electric vehicles (EVs) made up 6.5 percent of all new car sales in April 2021 – up from just 0.9 percent in the same month of 2019.

It’s a trend that’s been in motion for the past few years, with EVs making up 7.2 percent of all new car sales during the first four months of 2021. Over the same period in 2020, that figure stood at four percent, and it was just under one percent over the first four months of 2019.

Volkswagen ID.3 in the UK

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the increasing popularity of electric vehicles had made the UK Europe’s second-largest EV market in Europe.

“We want to drive decarbonisation on the global stage, which is why we’re going further and faster to make the journeys of our future as clean as possible,” he said. “With news that the half-a-million milestone has now been met, together with the UK now having the second largest EV market in Europe, it’s clear that the shift to green motoring is accelerating at speed.”

And Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said he hoped even more drivers would make the switch to electric vehicles.

“The automotive sector is transforming the way we drive, investing billions in ever greener and cleaner vehicles across the range, with 1 in 4 available models now capable of being ‘plugged in’,” he said. “Over half-a-million people are already convinced by the incredible driving experience and we hope millions more will make the switch as Britain strives to become the best place to build, buy and drive electric vehicles.”

Kia e-Niro ‘2’ with Long Range 64kwh battery