Record number of vehicles on UK roads

Motorway traffic

The number of vehicles on our roads reached a record 41.4 million in 2023, according to the latest SMMT figures.

The new Motorparc data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that car ownership was up 1.6% to 35,694,845.

There were also record numbers of commercial vehicles, with 625,873 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and 5,012,632 vans in operation, up by 1.7% and 2.6% respectively.

Despite the rise, average car CO2 dropped 2.1%. In fact, one in 40 of all vehicles on UK roads is now zero emission, including 960,896 cars, 61,161 vans, 2,383 HGVs and 1,922 buses.

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Almost half a million new battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles were registered during 2023.

BEV van volumes rose by 43.5% on 2022 to 61,161, meaning 1.2% of vans on UK roads is now zero emission, while electric HGVs rose 146.4% in 2023.

Elsewhere in the SMMT data, the five most popular cars on UK roads in 2023 were the Ford Fiesta (1,487,925), Vauxhall Corsa (1,050,579), Ford Focus (1,049,818), Volkswagen Golf (1,004,152) and Vauxhall Astra (715,647 ).

Continuing their domination, superminis remain the most popular car type on roads, with one in three drivers choosing these more compact vehicles to get around.

And despite the fact that the UK is the fifth rainiest country in Europe, convertibles account for almost one in 35 cars on the road, with 1,022,849 in use.

One millionth electric vehicle registered in the UK

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

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Britain’s one millionth electric vehicle has hit the road – a key milestone on the journey to a carbon zero future.

A total of 20,935 fully electric cars were registered last month, up 21% compared to the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This takes the overall total since 2002 to 1,001,677.

However, the recent growth is being driven by fleet sales, with sales to private buyers actually falling.

The UK new car market in general grew 8.2% for January with 142,876 new cars registered – an uplift of 10,882 units on January 2023, the best performance for the month since 2020, and the 18th consecutive month of growth.

“It’s taken just over 20 years to reach our million EV milestone – but with the right policies, we can double down on that success in just another two,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

“Market growth is currently dependent on businesses and fleets. Government must therefore use the upcoming Budget to support private EV buyers, temporarily halving VAT to cut carbon, drive economic growth and help everyone make the switch.

“Manufacturers have been asked to supply the vehicles, we now ask government to help consumers buy the vehicles on which net zero depends.”

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Motorway services topple supermarkets as most popular EV charging location

Home / Auto News / Motorway services topple supermarkets as most popular EV charging location

Gareth Herincx

16 hours ago
Auto News

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New research by Zapmap, the leading charge point mapping service, has revealed that motorway services and EV charging hubs have displaced supermarket car parks as the most popular charging locations in the UK.

This year, 55% of EV drivers they regularly stop at motorway services to charge, while 47% do so at EV charging hubs – these are up from 48% and 34% respectively last year.

This reflects the increasing number of charging hubs – which Zapmap defines as groups of six or more rapid or ultra-rapid devices – that are opening across the country.

At the end of November 2022, for instance, Zapmap data shows there were 99 open-access charging hubs, while at the end of November 2023 this more than doubled to 239.

In contrast, only 36% said they use supermarket car parks to charge their vehicles, down from 50% the previous year. The drop corresponds with the removal of many free-to-use chargers at supermarkets almost a year ago.

Jade Edwards, Head of Insights at Zapmap, said the “survey gives you a good indication of just how quickly the country’s charging infrastructure is developing”.

The research also showed that although 80% of respondents have a home charger, the vast majority of EV drivers continue to use public charging networks across the country.

Of these, national charge point operators Gridserve, Pod Point and InstaVolt are the most popular – with 36%, 34% and 34%, respectively, using them in the last six months.

As such, this year sees Gridserve has overtaken Pod Point in terms of being the network used by the highest number of respondents on a regular basis – although most used does not necessarily equate to highest satisfaction, as Zapmap’s recent charging network rankings demonstrate.

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Citroen e-C4 X review

Citroen e-C4 X review

We road test the stylish new four-door version of the pure electric Citroen e-C4…

The “affordable” end of the EV market is becoming extremely competitive – and Citroen is up for the fight.

Starting with the bargain basement Ami city runabout, through to the e-C4 hatchback, and up to the e-Berlingo and e-SpaceTourer people carriers, there’s plenty of choice from the French manufacturer in the sub-£40,000 category.

The latest model is the new e-C4 X, which isn’t just a saloon version of the e-C4. Sure, there’s some déjà vu initially because it looks identical from the front.

Citroen e-C4 X review

However, it’s new from the rear doors back, and unlike its sibling, it’s only available as an EV (no petrol or diesel engines).

And rather than just stick the boot in (remember the Vauxhall Belmont, Ford Orion and Volkswagen Jetta?), Citroen has given the e-C4 X a sleek derriere that’s much sexier than the hatchback.

The marketing blurb claims it “combines the elegant silhouette of a fastback with the modern look of an SUV”. I wouldn’t go that far, but it certainly has added kerb appeal.

The Citroen e-C4 X is around 240mm longer than the e-C4  cargo space is larger too (up from 380 litres to 510 litres). There’s also a decent amount of room for passengers in the rear seats, and if you need more load space, the rear seats can be folded flat to create an area of 1,360 litres.

Citroen e-C4 X review

Other than that, the e-C4 and e-C4 X are very similar, in terms of spec and driving experience.

Both are only available with a 50kWh battery mated to a 134bhp electric motor with drive via the front wheels. In theory this provides a range of up to 222 miles and delivers a 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds.

You get 100kW DC rapid charging, meaning a 10-80% top-up can be completed in 30 minutes when connected to a compatible public rapid charger. Or to put it another way, hook it up to a 100kW charger and it will add 59 miles of range in 10 minutes.

Naturally, it will also fully charge overnight at home using a wallbox, and regenerative braking will recover energy otherwise wasted when slowing down or coasting.

Citroen e-C4 X review

There are three trim level available – Sense, Sense Plus and Shine.

Starting at £31,995, Sense kicks off the e-C4 X line-up. Offering the best value for money, it comes as standard with LED exterior lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus a 5.0-inch digital driver’s cluster, dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors, plus safety essentials such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keep assist.

Next up is the mid-spec Shine (£33,995) which adds built-in sat nav, a head-up display, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and a reversing camera.

Finally, range-topping Shine Plus (£34,495) gets Alcantara and leather effect upholstery, heated front seats and Safety Pack Plus with Highway Driver Assist (semi-autonomous driving capability).

Citroen e-C4 X review

Inside, the e-C4 X is comfortable, thanks to Citroen’s famed Advanced Comfort padded seats. Elsewhere, apart from the odd hard surface, the cabin is a pleasant place to be with a logical layout.

Thankfully, up front it hasn’t gone completely minimalist and still retains some buttons and dials for essentials. The infotainment touchscreen is much improved, but it still isn’t the slickest system out there.

I also wasn’t keen on the old school head-up display which projects info onto a plastic panel above the dashboard. It works well enough, but it was right in my line of vision.

Oh, and a special mention for a clever storage solution above the glovebox which allows your front-seat passenger to view a tablet device via a retractable holder fully integrated into the dashboard.

On the road, the Citroen e-C4 X is much the same as its hatchback sibling. In other words, it won’t put a smile on your face, but it delivers a smooth ride (though “magic carpet” is pushing it) and impressive cabin refinement.

Citroen e-C4 X review

It doesn’t offer gut-wrenchingly fast acceleration like some EVs, but it’s eager enough for everyday driving.

There are three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport), but frankly Normal hits the spot. Eco is fine for pottering around town, while Sport adds a little zip. However, push it on more challenging corners and there’s a fair amount of body roll, so the e-C4 is best enjoyed at a more leisurely pace.

Elsewhere, light steering and a relatively high driving position add to the easy on-the-road experience. It would just be nice if the brakes were a little more progressive.

Citroen e-C4 X review

Real-world range is likely to be closer to 200 miles, but if you can live with that then the e-C4 X is a welcome addition to the affordable EV scene.

I suspect it may prove to be popular with taxi drivers too, because that boot can consume a serious amount of luggage. However, families might prefer the wider hatchback opening of the e-C4.

Rivals include the MG4 EV, Peugeot e-2008, Kia Niro EV, Ora Funky Cat and Renault Megane E-Tech.

Verdict: Sensible, smooth, safe, comfortable and practical, the all-electric Citroen e-C4 X’s distinctive design delivers a fastback-style rear end with the boot of a large saloon.

Citroen UK

Genesis GV60 review

Genesis GV60

We road test the first pure electric car from the new, upmarket Genesis brand…

Before we begin, let’s start with a quick refresh. Genesis is the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia. So, think Lexus/Toyota and DS/Citroen. Only launched in the UK in the summer of 2021, its impressive stable of prestige cars includes saloons, SUVs and an estate.

Up until now, the range hasn’t quite matched up to the equivalents from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

The good news for Genesis is that we think the fully electric GV60 will go down as the brand’s breakthrough model.

Genesis GV60

Developed alongside its award-winning cousins, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the GV60 is arguably the most successful of the trio in the looks department.

Slightly shorter than the Ioniq 5 and EV6, it’s nicely proportioned with a curvaceously muscular stance and short overhangs. There are flush-fitting door handles along its flowing profile, plus the option of rear-facing cameras instead of conventional door mirrors. Slim, stacked headlights and a broad black grille are highlights up front, while its sexy derrière is a candidate for Rear of the Year.

Priced from £47,005, the new Genesis GV60 is available in three trims (Premium, Sport and Sport Plus) and all versions come with a 77.4kWh battery, but different choices of electric motor.

Genesis GV60

It’s not worth listing the differences between the grades when it comes to goodies. Let’s just say, the GV60 is generously equipped, though obviously you should compare. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the technical differences that matter.

The GV60 Premium gets a single 225bhp electric motor that drives the rear wheels, giving up to 321 miles of range.

Sport versions come with dual motors producing a total of 314hp. These cars are four-wheel drive, but range is down to 292 miles.

Genesis GV60

The top-spec GV60 Sport Plus we tested gets a more powerful dual-motor setup that produces an impressive 483bhp in total, though range is down again to a still decent 289 miles on a single charge.

It’s worth noting that there’s a boost button on the Sport Plus which unlocks a 10-second blast of gut-wrenching power. Oh, and those 0-62mph times range from 7.8 seconds for the Premium down to 4.0 seconds for the Sport Plus.

The Genesis GV60 also comes with a state-of-the-art 800-volt electrical system that lets you charge it using ultra rapid 350kw chargers from 10-80% full in just 18 minutes.

Genesis GV60

Alternatively, a 10-80% charge via a more common 50kW connection will take 73 minutes, while a 10-100% boost from an 11kw home wallbox takes seven hours 20 minutes.

The cabin is spacious and faultlessly finished, though it’s worth test-driving the GV60 is you regularly carry taller than average rear passengers because of the sloping roofline.

Two wide 12.3-inch digital screens take care of infotainment duties, but thankfully there’s also a good balance of traditional buttons and dials to easily access commonly used functions.

Genesis GV60

The interior’s party trick is the gorgeous crystal ball in the middle of the centre console (Genesis calls it a ‘Crystal Sphere’) which revolves to reveal a rotating dial with Drive, Reverse, Park etc when the GV60 is ready to go.

The boot has a useful 432-litre capacity to the parcel shelf, expanding to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded down. There’s also space under the bonnet – the perfect spot to store your charging cables.

My only criticisms of the cabin are that the brushed metal effect used extensively has a plastic feel to it – not unlike a much cheaper Hyundai. Also, visibility through the small rear window isn’t the best, and there’s no wiper.

Genesis GV60

The GV60’s driving position is comfortable, if fairly high, and the car itself certainly feels substantial.

Obviously it’s quiet, refined and very fast. The Sport Plus we tested had adaptive predictive suspension, which uses information from the front camera and navigation system to adjust damping in advance, delivering an impressively comfortable ride.

There’s good body control in corners, but ultimately the GV60’s agility will always be compromised by its width and two-tonne weight. In other words, you’d need some track time to have the confidence to take it close to the limit.

Genesis GV60

That said there’s a serious amount of grip and traction from those epic 21-inch Michelin-shod wheels, so you can still have fun and a play with the various drive modes.

We found Comfort mode does just fine and the GV60 is at its best cruising effortlessly along at the legal limit. Oh, and a special mention for the steering wheel paddles which let you vary the amount of brake regeneration through five levels, from frictionless coasting to one-pedal driving.

Finally, the steering is light and accurate, but there’s not much in the way of feedback, while the brakes are progressive, unlike many EVs.

Genesis GV60

Before we sign off, it’s worth remembering that Genesis is no ordinary brand, offering a completely different VIP ownership experience.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, Genesis’s 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: The all-new Genesis GV60 is a class act. Big, practical, comfortable, safe and a joy to drive, it’s one of the best electric crossovers on the market with serious kerb appeal. Add the unique sales and aftercare package and it’s sure to appeal to buyers who prefer the finer things in life.

Genesis