If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom at some point soon, chances are you will find yourself on a bus powered by electricity, not diesel.

New 2023 sales data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows the percentage of buses and coaches powered by battery-electric powertrains climbed by 159.4% in 2023.

In all, the UK now has a fleet of over 1,922 fully electric buses.

That is just under 3% of the total number of buses and coaches at work on UK roads and a percentage I’m sure that is significantly higher than in the Australian market at this stage.

Buses though that run a hybrid powertrain are much more plentiful than the solely plug-in type in the UK.

As the infographic below shows just under a quarter of their total fleet carries the hybrid technology.

The SMMT welcomed the jump in use of both forms of electrified buses but is concerned that operators are holding on to their buses longer.

One in five buses in use in the UK today is more than 18 years old.

Other interesting findings from the data include that there are now a record number of commercial vehicles in use in the UK.

In total, 625,873 heavy goods vehicles and 5,012,632 vans are getting to work each day, those totals are up by 1.7% and 2.6% respectively.

Electric heavy trucks though continue to make just a small blip on the radar with only 0.4% of the fleet featuring an alternative powertrain.

BEV vans though now make up 1.2% of vans on UK roads, a 146% increase on 2022 numbers.

Interestingly, and maybe this is a sign of where the economy is at the moment, British motorists are keeping their cars for longer, with the average car on the road now nine years old.

That’s up by more than a year on 2019 numbers.

“Given the aging fleet, we now need to encourage consumers and businesses who have deferred purchases of new cars, vans, trucks and buses to upgrade.” – Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive

“A stronger and stable economy, coupled with reduced living costs, would boost consumer and business confidence, while compelling fiscal incentives would ensure that these purchases are emissions-free.”