The UK cities looking to move to electric vehicles

 

The UK cities looking to move to electric vehicles header

Which UK cities are looking to move to EVs the quickest and which are most prepared? 

Over the past decade the UK has seen a growth of more than 1.5 million battery electric and hybrid electric vehicles registered on our roads and 2022 is set to see this number increase further. While local councils continue to work on giving motorists the facilities they need for charging electric vehicles, we wanted to find out which UK cities are looking to make the move to electric quickest and which are most prepared.

Using Google search volume data, we explored key terms indicating which UK cities are showing the most intent to move from their internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric. We then investigated the number of public charging points per city to see how well prepared they are.

Finally, we took a dive into the number of registered ultra-low emission vehicles (vehicles that emit less than 75g of CO2/km from the tailpipe)) per UK city, calculating which city has the highest ratio of ULEVs to ICEs. This is a good indication of which UK cities are leading the way in the race to go electric.

The top UK cities looking to move to electric vehicles

Infographic showing which UK cities are looking to move to electric cars

Total no. of rapid charging devices equates to those whose fastest connector is rated at 43kW and above. Total number of chargers does not indicate how many cars can be charged by a single device e.g one charger being able to charge four cars at once. [1]

Our study began by looking at search volumes across UK cities for key terms to highlight which are most interested in electric cars [2]. Analysing three terms, ‘electric car’, ‘electric car dealer’ and ‘electric car test drive’, we found the following results.

Derby ranks as the city where motorists (per 100,000 capita) are most interested in potentially swapping to an electric vehicle. However, should the vast majority of these motorists look to follow-through with a potential purchase or lease, charging accessibility, outside of a home charging point, could become an issue. 

Our research finds that Derby ranked 17th out of the UK cities studied for the number of available charging devices (per 100,000 capita) [3] – a potential problem if the city doesn’t increase its rollout of public charging infrastructure.

Leeds and Manchester round off the top three cities with residents most interested in electric cars; with Leeds looking well prepared for a transition with 42.6 public charging stations per 100,000 capita, whereas Manchester falls far behind at just 20.2. 

The UK cities best prepared for an electric vehicle transition

City
Total public charging devices
Total rapid charging devices
No. of charging devices per 100,000 capita
1st
Milton Keynes
379
126
140.3
2nd
Coventry
499
50
131.5
3rd
Reading
96
9
59.9
4th
Sunderland
154
26
55.4
5th
Nottingham
186
53
55.2
6th
Newport
74
21
47.3
7th
Glasgow
278
49
43.7
8th
Leeds
340
87
42.6
9th
Preston
53
15
36.8
10th
Southampton
92
10
36.4

While seeing a boom in EVs across the nation is a positive in our transition to a net zero future, an important factor that will dictate the experience for EV drivers is the availability of public charging points.

As our study has shown, although some cities are showing an avid interest in buying electric cars, the infrastructure does not always match drivers’ needs. In the UK, there are a reported 300,000 home-charging points [4] – likely to be the main source of charging for motorists with a driveway, but when it comes to public charging spots, the figures seem to be too low in some areas to cater conveniently to those drivers who cannot charge at home.

Looking at the total number of public charging devices, and total rapid charging devices, we found the top 10 cities best prepared for the transition to electric cars.. Recently, Milton Keynes was ranked as the best place in the UK for an electric car [5] and when it comes to charging stations, it also ranks on top. With 140.3 per 100,000 capita, the city is ahead of others, living up to its reputation as the home of electric cars. 

Coventry and Reading ranked second and third in our study. Coventry, thanks to its high number of total public charging devices has a total of 131.5 charging stations per 100,000 capita. Thanks to its lower population density, Reading has just over 100 charging stations within the city per 100,000 capita. 

The UK cities already moving towards electric vehicles

Infographic showing which percentage of cars in each city are electric

To conclude our study, we took a look into UK Government data [6] for licensed ICE and ULEVs over the past decade, calculating what percentage of cars in each city are ULEVs. 

Despite being a seemingly low number, just under 8% of cars in Milton Keynes were ULEVs as of 2021, – the most of all UK cities studied. Leeds follows in second place with just under 6% of its cars being hybrid or electric. 

Despite having nearly 80,000 ULEVs registered in 2021, three times as many as Milton Keynes, London has just a 3% representation of ULEVs on the road.

The UK cities seeing the highest growth in ULEV’s over the past 10 years

City
Growth in % of cars that are ULEVs over 10 years (%)
1st
Milton Keynes
5.45%
2nd
Leeds
3.55%
3rd
London
2.03%
4th
Derby
1.52%
5th
Edinburgh
1.2%
6th
Sheffield
1.12%
7th
Belfast
1.12%
8th
Swansea
1.02%
9th
Bristol
1.01%
10th
Reading
0.97%

When looking at the same data set over a 10 year period, we uncovered the UK cities that have seen the biggest growth in ULEVs registered in their areas. 

Milton Keynes has seen more than a 5%  absolute increase in the number of ULEVs registered over the last decade, ahead of all other UK cities

Noticeably again, London ranks in the top three, albeit with a low figure of 2%. The capital is still likely to be one of the top cities pushing towards an electric vehicle movement..

For more information on our study, please get in touch with hello@elmodrive.com

FAQs

Which UK city is likely to move to electric cars first?

Derby residents are showing the most intent when it comes to looking for electric cars, suggesting that they could become the first UK city to move from ICEs to electric. 

Which city is the most prepared for electric cars?

With 140.3 public charging points per 100,000 capita, Milton Keynes ranks as the city most prepared should all motorists move to electric cars. The city also has one of the highest number of rapid-charging points at 129.

Which city has the highest percentage of electric cars?

7.98% of all cars in Milton Keynes are electric – the most of all UK cities. Leeds closely follows with 5.92% and London ranks third with 3.02%. 

Methodology

We took and analysed both Google Search Volume results and Government sources to showcase which UK cities are both looking to make the switch and also are the most prepared to move to electric vehicles. To help make data comparable, we calculated figures per 100,000 capita.

Data was collected on 26/04/22

Sources

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electric-vehicle-charging-device-statistics-july-2021/electric-vehicle-charging-device-statistics-july-2021

[2] https://ads.google.com/ 

[3] https://maps.dft.gov.uk/ev-charging-map/index.html

[4] https://www.wired.co.uk/article/ev-charging-home

[5] https://www.buckinghamshirelive.com/news/buckinghamshire-news/milton-keynes-named-best-place-6798733

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/all-vehicles-veh01

Data

You can view the full data set here

 

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