ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN THE UK – MINI ELECTRIFICATION REPORT.
Each year, more drivers are making the feel-good switch to electric cars. But how many electric cars and charging points are there in the UK? We’ve brought together data from various sources to create an overall picture of how the electric era is progressing across the nations’ largest towns and cities.
We took a look at the number of publicly available electric car charging points a town or city has, along with how many people drive electric cars in those areas. Then we created a report that shows where the UK’s electric vehicle market is strongest, where it’s growing fastest, and how this is shaping government legislation and electric vehicle growth projections.
When looking at how many electric cars there are in the UK, we included Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).
THE ELECTRIC CAR CAPITALS OF THE UK.
The UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is improving year on year, from 15,116 charging stations in October 2019 to 25,927 in October 2021 – a 72% increase. That’s just as well, as the number of ULEVs on our roads has increased 126%, from 109,443 to 246,901 in that time.
Cities that do particularly well in our report tend to match a large number of ULEVs with plenty of charging points. Striking the right balance of electric cars to charge points makes these locations best prepared for new electric vehicle owners – with more publicly available charge points, more drivers have the confidence they need to make the switch.
We ranked each location in our report for metrics including the number of charging points and rapid charging points – plus the number of each per capita and square mile – as well as the number of registered PHEVs and BEVs. These rankings were then collated, to give each location a final index score. (More information on our methodology can be found at the bottom of this page.)
Of the 120 towns and cities featured, Milton Keynes ranks top with an index score of 103.3. A total of 372 charge points (including 123 rapid charge points) is the highest per 100,000 in our report. With 21.1 points per square-mile, it also means electric car drivers are rarely far from their nearest recharge.
In a close second is London’s index score of 100.3. Its significantly higher electric car adoption rate dwarves other cities, with 617 ULEVs and 87.4 charging points per 100,000 people.
With an index score of 95.5, Leeds ranks third due to the substantial number of BEVs and PHEVs registered in the city, as well as a high volume of charging points, while fourth-placed Coventry scores highly because the large number of charge points in the city provides a charging point for every three ULEVs.
Milton Keynes, London, Leeds and High Wycombe rank within the top ten of our index, however the rest of the cities above index between 20th-40th due to a relatively low number of charge points available per capita and per square mile.
WHICH CITIES HAVE THE MOST ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS?
London leads the UK for the most publicly available charge points, with over 7,800 (including around 700 rapid charge points). As well as its high population density and overall size, the Ultra Low Emission Zone incentivizes electric car ownership.
Outside the capital, the towns and cities with the most charging points are Coventry (481 charge points, including 45 rapid charging points), Milton Keynes (372 charge points, including 123 rapid charging points), and Brighton and Hove (345 charge points), as well as Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool, High Wycombe, Sutton Coldfield, and Birmingham.
Between October 2019 and October 2021, the number of charge points in Coventry saw an increase of 208%, from 156 devices to 481. Based on this growth, there could be around 700 charging points in Coventry by October 2022.
In that time, Milton Keynes grew from 258 charge points to 372 (+44%), suggesting it could have over 430 by October 2022. The number of charge points in Brighton and Hove increased from 59 to 345 (an incredible growth of 485%) and could reach over 530 by October 2022 if this growth continues – a 54% increase.
While these cities have the highest number of public charging points, the figures don’t always correlate with the number of people who drive electric cars in those areas. Coventry and Brighton & Hove have a charge device for every two or three ULEVs respectively, whereas some cities have far fewer to go around – Leeds has 70 ULEVs per charge device. In Milton Keynes, it’s 58 per device.
Many of these cities rank within the top ten of our index. However, cities like Glasgow (35th), Birmingham (39th) and Liverpool (57th) rank lower due to proportionally fewer charge points per capita and per square mile.
WHICH CITIES HAVE THE BIGGEST ELECTRIC CAR USAGE?
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN LONDON.
Electric car trends vary from city to city. As with charge points, electric car ownership is high in London. The capital boasts 33,285 BEVs and 28,940 PHEVs, an increase of 130% from October 2019 to October 2021. Continued growth at this rate would see the number of electric cars in London increase by 34% by October 2022.
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN HIGH WYCOMBE.
With 4,286 electric cars registered by October 2021, High Wycombe boasts the largest number of electric cars outside of the capital – an increase of 2,265 (112%) since October 2019. At this rate of growth, there could be over 5,600 electric cars in use in High Wycombe by October 2022.
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN LEEDS.
By October 2021, Leeds had 2,664 registered electric cars, up 133% from 1140 in October 2019. Continued growth at this rate would see electric vehicle usage in Leeds increase to around 3,600 by October 2022.
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN BIRMINGHAM.
Birmingham saw an additional 1,614 electric cars registered between October 2019 and October 2021 – an increase of 155% from 1043 to 2657. Continued growth at this rate would see Birmingham home to 3,645 electric cars by October 2022 – overtaking Leeds.
THE UK’S ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET VARIES BY COUNTRY.
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN ENGLAND.
Between October 2019 and October 2021, England saw a 75% increase in charge points, as well as a 125% increase in electric car ownership.
This growth was driven by highly populated cities like London (+80% charge points and +128% electric cars), Leeds (+105% charge points and +133% electric cars) and Birmingham (+71% charge points and +155% electric cars). However, Manchester had 6% fewer charge points despite 152% increase in electric car ownership.
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN SCOTLAND.
In that same period, Scotland’s charge point availability rose by 54% and the number of electric cars by 132% – the greatest electric car adoption rate of the four UK nations.
Glasgow’s 159% increase in ULEVs and 45% increase in charge points lead by example, while Edinburgh’s charge points increased 30% and ULEVs by 148%, and Aberdeen gained 29% more charge points and 147% more electric cars. Dundee saw slower growth with only 26% more charge points and 116% more electric cars.
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN WALES.
The number of charge points in Wales grew by 88%, while the number of ULEVs increased by 124%.
In Swansea, charge point availability grew 138% and registered electric cars grew by 176%. Newport saw increases of 93% and 156%, while Cardiff saw growth of 67% and 145%.
ELECTRIC CAR USAGE IN NORTHERN IRELAND.
Northern Ireland’s charge device availability increased by 13%, while the number of ULEVs increased by 85%.
Belfast and Derry saw an increase in charging stations of 26% and 17%, and an increase in ULEVs of 141% and 98%, respectively.
CAN CITIES WITH FEWER CHARGE POINTS DRIVE ELECTRIC CAR MARKET GROWTH?
Even in cities where the UK’s electric vehicle market is still in first gear, we can see that there is a growing demand for charge points.
With a total of nine, Stevenage has the fewest charging points – however, this is an increase of 50% from 2019 to 2021. Electric car market growth can also be seen in Harlow, which saw a 300% increase in charging points with a further 46% increase for 2022 if this growth continues, while Hastings increased its device availability by 114% with a further 32% anticipated. The number of charging points in Southend-on-Sea grew 23%, while Worthing’s increased by 30%.
Sustained growth is anticipated in other areas with relatively few electric car charging points, including Hartlepool in the North East (+31% by October 2022), Redditch in Worcestershire (+24%) and Woking in Surrey (+19%). However, Chatham and Gillingham are expected to maintain a slower electric car adoption rate.
The data suggests an average increase in charge points of 20% across these ten towns and cities, a similar level to the expected growth in bigger cities like London, Liverpool, Nottingham, and Birmingham.
The growth of charge point availability has accelerated since 2019. If this trend continues, we could expect to see around 260,000 by 2030 – when sales of new petrol and diesel cars stop – and as many as 555,000 by 2033.
CAN CITIES WITH FEWER ULEVS DRIVE ELECTRIC CAR MARKET GROWTH?
As with charge points, electric car ownership is growing in the towns and cities across the UK that had the fewest ULEVs in 2019.
Among these are Middlesbrough, which has seen a 204% increase from 52 to 158 ULEVs between 2019 and 2021, with a further 42% increase possible by October 2022. Burnley grew 181% from 60 ULEVs to 169, which is expected to grow by another 39%. The number of ULEVs in Derry grew from 92 to 182 (116%) in that time, which could grow by another 28% this year.
Similarly, areas that had the least ULEVs in 2019, including Lincoln (+180%), Stevenage (+152%), Mansfield (+145%), Redditch (+140%), Carlisle (+136%), Hartlepool (+132%), and Hastings (+91%) saw a sustained increase in the number of registered electric cars.
The growth for these ten towns and cities with the fewest ULEVs could reach 35%, in line with the 34% growth anticipated for larger cities with many more ULEVs. This suggests that the demand for electric cars is increasing evenly across the UK.
HOW ARE YOUNGER DRIVERS SHAPING ELECTRIC CAR TRENDS?
Drivers aged 18 to 30 are part of an environmentally conscious generation that puts sustainability at the heart of their decision making. 71% of those surveyed are aware of the Government’s target to stop the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and 46% said they would choose to buy an electric vehicle if there were no barriers to purchase. However, only 3% currently drive a ULEV.
The barriers to entry driving this disparity are range and cost. 52% of younger drivers wouldn’t buy an electric car due to concerns about the range of mileage, while 43% haven’t made the switch because they aren’t confident about access to charging points. Worries about the cost of charging stops 57% of respondents from buying an electric car, and 41% say the cost of purchase is what prevents them making the switch.
72% of 18-30 year-olds surveyed weren’t aware of any of the previously available eight Government grants and initiatives designed to support electric car owners, demonstrating an overall awareness of the trend towards electric cars, but not what the Government is doing to motivate the switch.
Maintenance isn’t a concern for younger drivers as 46% said they would feel as confident owning and maintaining an electric car as they would a petrol or diesel car. Only 11% of respondents wouldn’t make the switch due to lacking the confidence to maintain an electric vehicle.
MAKE THE SWITCH TO ELECTRIC WITH MINI.
MINI Electric delivers our trademark go-kart handling, instant torque for immediate oomph, and a sleeker take on the unmistakable MINI look.
Your feel-good electric driving experience includes a fully digital display, featuring MINI Navigation that lets you plan and share routes from your phone. The versatile interior provides up to 731 litres of luggage space – whether you use it for weekend bags, a set of clubs, or a furry, four-legged friend is up to you.
With a range of up to 145 miles and lightning-fast charging at home and at public charging points across the UK, make your next MINI adventure electric.
Using the Office of National Statistics’ definition of major towns and cities, we pulled the electric vehicle charging infrastructure data for 120 locations and scored them from 120 to 0 (the higher the number for each metric, the higher each town or city scored).
Metrics included the total number of charge points and rapid charge points, the number of each per capita and square mile, and the total number of registered BEVs and PHEVs. Each location’s scores were totalled, then divided by 10 to produce a final score for the purpose of ranking all 120.
Electric vehicle growth projections were calculated using the average year-on-year percentage growth from 2019-2021, then applying this to the statistics for October 2021.
You can download the full data set here.
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