In the year to June 2017, 45,509 new ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) were registered for the first time in the UK, a year-on-year increase of 27%.
The figure, published by the DfT yesterday (14 September) as part of the latest vehicle licensing statistics, is also 71% higher than the corresponding figure for the year ending June 2015.
In terms of ULEVs as a percentage of all new registrations, the figure stands at 1.4% for the year ending June 2017, compared to 1.1% in the previous year, and 0.9% in the year ending June 2015.
The DfT says most of this increase is vehicles eligible for plug-in car and van grants. New registrations in the year to June 2017 included 39,374 cars and 1,066 vans that were eligible for these grants, up 19% on the year to June 2016.
The DfT also says the growth in ULEVs is being influenced by new models coming into the market and increasingly competitive pricing.
Looking specifically at April to June 2017, nearly 11,400 new ULEVs were registered, an increase of 17% on the same period in 2016. However, the figure is lower that the first quarter of 2017 when 13,800 new ULEVs were registered.
In total, 726,000 vehicles were registered for the first time in Q2, a year-on-year fall of 9.8%. This was the first time the number of new registrations in the second quarter of a year has fallen (year-on-year) since 2011.
The DfT says this could be attributed, in part, to changes in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) introduced in April 2017. The changes particularly affected lower emission cars in VED bands A to E (emissions up to 140 g/km) which account for 83% of newly registered cars.