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  • Oct 4, 2022

  • 6 min read

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Which UK cities are leading the way for EV drivers?

With the 2030 UK ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars getting closer, there’s no doubt that the future of driving is electric.

Making the switch to electric driving in the next 10 years is a big change for the automotive industry and customers alike, and begs the question - how will the UK change to this rising demand for EVs? We took a closer look to find out which UK cities are best equipped to take on the EV revolution. Let’s dive in.

Is the UK infrastructure ready for electric vehicles?

Supporting the switch from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric ones isn’t just about producing enough EVs to meet demand, it’s also about making sure there’s the infrastructure to support it. This means ample affordable, reliable and convenient charge points and electric grid capacity for everyone.

How many electric charging points are there in the UK?

At the time of writing, there are already more than 33,000 electric charging points across the UK. But going fully electric in the next 10 years means that a bigger network of public charging points is needed. The government has committed to the UK having 10 times more on-street public charging points by 2030 and pledged £620 million in electric vehicle grants and infrastructure to support the transition. As more of us buy EVs, more private companies are also expected to invest in charging networks as they become more profitable and very attractive business options.

In short, the UK has made a good start in charging point capacity and is working to improve that. As we see more electric vehicles on the road in the next few years, more charging points will appear to meet that demand and a more flexible and affordable charging network should follow.

Can the UK’s grid cope with the rise of electric vehicles?

The UK’s electricity grid is made up of a network of power plants that generate electricity, power lines that transmit electricity and smaller substations that distribute electricity to customers. Making sure the grid has enough capacity to cope with greater demand from electric vehicles will be key to making the switch a success.

National Grid, the operator of the UK’s electricity grid, is confident that the grid will comfortably meet increased demand. They’ve been preparing to support bigger demand and to find ways to generate electricity from renewable sources. For example, ongoing developments in offshore wind farming are expected to offer an extra 100 terawatt hours (TWh) on top of the 300TWh currently consumed.

So, whether it's increased demand through home charging or public charging, the electricity grid is ready to support the move to EVs.

Which cities in the UK have the most EVs?

Are you wondering where all the EVs are? Or where you should go to guarantee finding convenient charging points? The recent Saga Electric Cities study revealed that London, Newcastle and Glasgow came out on top as overall electric vehicle-friendly cities. But, surprisingly, none of them make the top of the list for the most electric vehicles in the UK.

Drumroll, please! Portsmouth came out as the winning city for the most electric cars per capita, with more EVs registered here than in any other UK city. Reading and Leeds came to a respectable second and third place.

Which cities in the UK have the most public EV charging points?

OK, so we have a lot of EVs, but do we have enough public charging points? Around 35% of all of the UK’s public charging points are located in London. Maybe not too surprising as it's the UK’s biggest city.

Coventry is the city with the best EV charging network points in the UK. Its 456 charging points, with 1.4 electric vehicles per charging point, puts it fourth in Saga’s overall list of electric vehicle-friendly cities. Brighton, with its 331 charging points, equating to 1.8 electric vehicles per charging point, comes in a close second to Coventry.

To find out what charging points are available in your city, take a look at this handy map of electric charging points from Octopus Electric Universe.

What does the future of electric cars look like in the UK?

With a ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and new hybrids from 2035, the move to EVs in the UK is all but inevitable. Year on year more UK drivers are opting to go electric, in part to stay ahead of the curve, but also to get the benefits of a greener, more sustainable and overall cheaper mode of transport.

By 2035 it’s expected that the largest automotive markets will be fully electric, so in the next 10 years it’s likely we’ll see a complete shift in the UK from mostly petrol and diesel cars to mostly electric ones.

The government is pouring in a lot of money, and we are seeing UK cities embrace this electric future by investing in charging points, off-street parking and Clean Air Zones – take London, Newcastle and Glasgow as great examples. But local authorities and private investors will need to keep up the momentum if we want to see the infrastructure that's needed for the 2030 transition.

We can already see that as more of us turn to EVs, private companies are starting to see the business potential of investing in electric charging infrastructure. Customers need reliable, affordable and convenient places to charge, and will pay for it.

Developments are also being made to support the grid and we can take comfort from National Grid’s confidence that there’s more than enough capacity to meet increasing demand.

So, as we make the shift to a greener, cleaner, electric future, it might be time to think about making the switch yourself and help make your city a more electric vehicle-friendly one. Take a look at our fantastic range of electric vehicles and give our frequently asked questions a read for more info.