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Countries around the world are making drastic changes to laws in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint and become more environmentally conscious. Many countries, including the UK, are focussing on transport and the automotive industry. Utilizing more renewable energy and increasing dependence on electric vehicles should see a decline in carbon emissions.
In 2018, transport accounted for 33% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. The UK has brought plans to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars forward from 2040 to 2030. This is in a bid to achieve the target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. A major obstacle in the way of this EV revolution is whether the UK has the infrastructure in place to support such a drastic change on the roads. There is a large investment needed from the UK government and third-parties, to install a sufficient number of public charging stations across the UK.
Mercury Cars have analyzed which cities and towns in the UK are the greenest when it comes to owning an EV vehicle. From looking at locational data on population, size and the number of public EV charging stations in cities and towns, we were able to find out the best (and worst) locations for driving an electric vehicle.
We also saw it important to consider the number of web searches for ‘electric vehicle’ and ‘recycling’ for each region. Although this may not be representative of the current infrastructure in place for each location, we believe it helps to highlight the publics attitudes towards going green, to an extent. The decision from the government to switch to electric vehicles by 2030 will see the demand for EV’s and charging stations increase. Local interest and demand from the public will have an effect on the future of EV infrastructure for each location.
The top 5 and worst 5 locations for each category
Below are the best five and worst five locations for the number of public charging stations per km², number of charging stations per 10,000 people and the number of Electric Vehicle web searches per 10,000 people. The light blue numbers represent the highest-scoring locations, and the dark blue represents the lowest scoring ones.
Milton Keynes and Coventry rank 1st and 2nd in two of the categories, public charging stations per 10km² and public charging stations per 10,000 people. Milton Keynes however also ranks in the bottom 5 for the number of ‘electric vehicle’ web searches per 10,000 people.
Although Northampton has ranked poorly for the first two categories, public charging stations per 10km² and public charging stations per 10,000 people, they have still ranked 2nd in the searched category.
Now, let’s move onto the overall top 10 and worst 10 locations
Combining all of the above data we are able to come up with a ranking system for an overall result for the best and worst locations in the UK for owning an electric vehicle.
By adding up the rankings of how all the locations ranked in each category, we were able to discover which locations scored better overall. Is this instance, the locations with the lowest scores were the best locations.
The top 10 locations
The worst 10 locations
The overall top 10 locations for owning an electric vehicle seem to be spread fairly evenly throughout the UK. 8 of the locations are English and 2 are Scottish.
5 of the worst 10 locations in the UK for owning an EV are towns and cities in Yorkshire. Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Hull and Wakefield are all included. There are also 2 Welsh cities Cardiff and Swansea included.
Charging stations per km²
Milton Keynes came out on top when it comes to the best ratio of charging stations per km², with almost 2.9 charging stations per km². Coventry, London, Portsmouth, Nottingham, Bournemouth, Luton, Aberdeen, Bristol and Liverpool make out the rest of the top 10.
There appears to be a North & South contrast in this category, with the Southern areas having more public charging points per 10km².
The worst city in the UK for the number of charging stations per km² is Swansea. The Welsh city has only 0.06 charging stations per km². Wakefield, Sheffield, Wigan, Northampton, York, Hull, Leeds, Stoke and Cardiff make up the rest of the bottom 10.
Charging stations per population
Milton Keynes comes out on top by far once again, this time for the number of EV charging stations per population ratio. In Milton Keynes, there are 9.6 EV charging stations per 10,000 people, which is more than double of second-placed Coventry, with 4.25. The rest of the top 10 consists of Newcastle, Aberdeen, Nottingham, York, London, Portsmouth Bristol and Luton.
Hull is the area with the lowest figure of charging stations per person. They have only 0.65 charging stations for every 10,000 people. The cities and towns which make up the rest of the lowest 10 are Northampton, Birmingham, Sheffield, Wigan, Bradford, Bolton, Wolverhampton, Stoke and Swansea.
Electric vehicle searches
We also used data from Compare the Market to see the number of searches for the search terms ‘electric cars’ and ‘recycling centre’. This way it is possible to assess which UK towns and cities have the greenest attitudes when it comes to electric vehicles. This figure was also per every 10,000 people.
Bristol was the city with the most searches per 10,000 people, with 47.04. The rest of the top ten places are Northampton, Edinburgh, Belfast, Leicester, Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Sheffield and Newcastle.
The city with the lowest search terms in the UK per 10,000 people was Swansea. There were only 2.03 searches per 10,000 people, compared to 47.04 in Bristol. Swansea also ranked last for the number of stations per km² with 0.063, compared to the highest score of 2.89. Wakefield, Wigan, Bradford, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Luton, Bournemouth, Leeds and York make up the rest of the bottom ten locations with the lowest searches.
It was no surprise that London was the largest and most populated region in the UK and had more public electric vehicle charging points than anyone. This doesn’t tell the whole story, however, as just because London has more electric charging points than anywhere else, doesn’t mean it’s the best UK city to own an electric vehicle.
It’s important to compare the number of public electric vehicle chargers, with the population of UK towns and cities, as well as the size of the location in km². As the UK becomes more environmentally conscious and attitudes towards electric vehicles change, demand for EV’s will increase. Half of UK drivers cite concerns over UK infrastructure and limited access to public charging facilities dissuade them from investing in an Electric vehicle. Working out how many public charging points there are in areas, compared to the population and size of the town or city, enables us to discover which places are the best when it comes to owning an electric vehicle.
This article was originally published on Mercury Car Centre by Callum McPhillips. You can read it here.
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Published August 29, 2020 — 13:00 UTC