The UK’s fleet average carbon emissions have reduced by a record-breaking 11.8 per cent, according to a new Sustainability Report published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today.

Reducing climate impact remains the key talking point across the automotive industry, with manufacturers working hard to introduce a range of zero and low-emission models.

According to the SMMT, there are now 130 electric and plug-in hybrid cars to choose from in the UK, with electric vehicles accounting for more than one in 10 registrations in 2020 alone.

The number of UK-produced electric and plug-in hybrid models also increased to a 18.8 per cent share of all vehicles being built – up from 14.2 per cent in 2019 – with the Mini Electric, Nissan Leaf EV and Toyota Corolla hybrid all helping to increase this number.

The SMMT also says these models are now produced more sustainably than ever, with 14.2 per cent less energy and 36.8 per cent less water being used on average than when cars were produced in 2000.

Yet, though progress has been made, the SMMT still says more needs to be done. While there are expected to be 300 plug-in hybrid and electric models on the market by 2025, the trade body said that ‘if the electric vehicle revolution is to work for all, similar fast progress needs to be made in other areas, most notably charging infrastructure’.

The report also highlights the past and present setbacks caused by the pandemic, which is described by the SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes as ‘severe’.

Hawes said: “The impact of the pandemic on a sector such as automotive, one which depends on global supply lines, strong consumer demand and a highly skilled workforce, was always going to be severe. As the latest Sustainability Report shows, economic and market growth stalled with many factories shuttered and retail closed.

“​​Despite the adversity, the industry’s commitment and investment in zero emission vehicles remained undiminished, delivering the best-ever single year of fleet average carbon reduction. Much more needs to be done on this and so many other sustainability indicators, to which the sector looks to the Government to ensure the framework, incentives and infrastructure exist to enhance our competitiveness and deliver the sustainable future society demands.”