Press Release: UK set to miss targets as EV sales projected to fall well short of requirements

Globally, the number of electric LCVs on the road will triple by 2028, with growth dominated by China.
May 1, 2024

New research and industry forecasts from Zero Carbon Academy finds that the UK is set to miss its decarbonisation targets for the end of the decade, as BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) sales are projected to fall short by as many as 4.6 million vehicles.

UK set to miss decarbonisation targets

The UK will fall short in meeting its decarbonisation targets according to Zero Carbon Academy’s new research, Electric Vehicles & Charging Infrastructure 2023-2028.

The UK government estimates 25% of cars and vans (LCVs or ‘Light Commercial Vehicles’) on the road will need to be BEVs by 2030 to meet targets. Yet ZCA’s forecasts find that by 2028, BEVs will account for just 10% of LCVs on the road in the UK. Assuming growth rates continue to 2030, then to reach government figures (equivalent to 9.3 million BEVs on the road in 2030) the UK will fall short by 4.6 million vehicles.

Furthermore, the UK government has set targets for 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in 2030 to be zero emissions, with this figure increasing to 100% by 2035. If we assume a similar number of new LCV registrations in 2030 as we forecast in 2028 (2.26 million), then the UK would require sales of 1.8 million BEVs in 2030 to hit the target of 80%. The UK sold just 314,684 BEVs in 2023.

As Western Europe & China lead the charge

On a global scale, the EV market (both BEV and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) will more than triple by 2028, from just 42 million EVs on the road last year, to exceed 144 million by the end of the forecast period. This will be dominated by contributions from China. However, when looking at the proportion of on road LCVs which are EVs, several Western European nations presently lead the way.

Lauren Foye Head of Market Research & Consultancy at ZCA commented:

“China has set a clear strategy and pathway for EV adoption, and whilst (in terms of unit sales) its dominance of the EV market will remain, several European nations should be credited for their policies which have and will continue to drive a notable uptick in EV adoption.”

For a sample of the research, download the free whitepaper: Driving change~ How EVs are energising the green transition.

Zero Carbon Academy provides information, training, and accreditation to organisations seeking to reach net zero, offering analyst reports and industry commentary, alongside educational courses, and consultancy.


For further details please contact Charlie Jones


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Lauren Foye
Head of Reports

Lauren has extensive experience as an analyst and market researcher in the digital technology and travel sectors. She has a background in researching and forecasting emerging technologies, with a particular passion for the Videogames and eSports industries. She joined the Critical Information Group as Head of Reports and Market Research at GRC World Forums, and leads the content and data research team at the Zero Carbon Academy. “What drew me to the academy is the opportunity to add content and commentary around sustainability across a wealth of industries and sectors.”

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