Reducing transport pollution is also a major target in the government’s net-zero strategy – representing a massive 23% of the total reduction in emissions expected by 2050.
With sales of new petrol and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) cars expected to end by 2030, we are now looking at how the electric vehicle transition is going.
Using a range of metrics, UK automotive sales platform Motorway reveals which UK towns and cities are currently leading the way to the impending electric revolution.
The rise of EVs in the UK
There has been a recent boom in sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV) over the last few years, and this shows no sign of dropping off as the country approaches the planned switchover.
Motorway’s statistics incorporate all kinds of BEVs – but exclude hybrid vehicles, as they are scheduled to be phased out in 2035.
The EV-readiness index
Motorway analysed several key metrics to chart the progress of UK towns and cities as they progress towards the electric switchover – and rank them in terms of their current readiness.
The UK cities and towns leading the charge toward an EV future
Let’s look at the top ten EV-ready UK towns and cities last year.
The UK capital has been named as the city leading the charge to an electric vehicle future in Britain.
London is ranked the most EV-ready city in the UK. Indeed, the switch to electric is well underway in the capital, with sales of new and used EVs booming – and, according to Motorway’s figures, the percentage of new EV vehicle registrations reaching nearly 25%.
The city is also leading the way in terms of charging infrastructure, with nearly 9,000 public charging points now installed.
Pollution has long been an issue in London – and clean air has been a major priority for successive London mayors. The city’s first low-emission zone (LEZ) launched in 2008 – and was subsequently upgraded to the world’s first 24-hour ‘ultra-low emission zone’ (ULEZ) in 2019. It is set to expand again in 2023.
Taking the second place on Motorway’s list of UK cities most prepared for the impending electric switchover is Nottingham.
Showing strong results across Motorway’s ‘EV-readiness’ metrics, the city’s EV sales are steadily climbing and it’s the city with the most charging stations outside of the capital.
Nottingham is also driving the switch to electric vehicles with innovative schemes – such as wireless charging of electric taxis and on-street charging points.
Since the town was declared a climate emergency in 2019, Bedford’s council officials have confronted pollution head-on.
In an effort to reverse the town’s climate problems, Bedford Council single-mindedly implemented an extensive Net-Zero Strategy, creating policies that required local developers to install EV infrastructure in new homes, businesses, and community facilities.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, the town has seen strong EV sales. Many advertising campaigns have also been introduced to educate locals on the advantages of electric vehicles ahead of the switchover. Bedford Council, for example, offers online EV webinars to demonstrate the benefits to local businesses.
The fourth most EV-ready city in the UK is Manchester.
With the switchover clearly on the minds of residents, sales of new and used EVs have been strong within the northern city. Manchester’s EV charging infrastructure installation is also progressing well – with the number of EV charge points amongst the best in the country.
A clean air zone (CAZ) had been scheduled to be in place in Manchester in May 2022. However, this is now under review and the plan requires government approval before the new investment-led process can be actioned.
5. Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle claims 5th place in the race to an EV future.
The Northeastern city is making the switch to electric vehicles with impressive speed – across all of Motorway’s metrics for EV-readiness.
Last year, the city was named an ‘EV hotspot’ and was revealed to be the UK city with the most electric cars financed. There are also less than 900 people per electric charger in Newcastle upon Tyne, which puts charger availability amongst the best in the UK.
A clean air zone came into place in Newcastle in January this year – but, unlike other CAZs, it will only apply to buses, coaches, taxis, vans, and heavy goods vehicles that do not meet national clean air zone emissions standards. Private cars are currently exempt from the associated charges.
6. Milton Keynes
In at sixth place of UK cities most prepared to embrace the 2030 electric switchover is Milton Keynes.
Awarded £9 million in funding in the Go Ultra Low Cities scheme in 2014, this financial boost has aided Milton Keynes to create a robust EV charging infrastructure throughout the city.
Some of this investment was also channelled into educating residents on the benefits of the electric switchover – including opening the UK’s first all-EV, multi-brand car showroom in the city centre in 2017.
Milton Keynes has also implemented a pro-electrification parking scheme within the city, which is designed to popularise EV uptake – and which provides free parking for ultra-low emission cars.
According to Motorway’s research, the seventh-most EV-ready city in the UK is Bristol.
With more than 200 charging points already available in Bristol car parks and shopping centres, a further 150 public charging points are planned to be rolled out in residential areas in 2023.
Grants have also been made available for residents to install home charging points. Bristol City Council also offers local businesses, sole traders, and other social organisations a free, two-month trial of electric vans and cars.
The launching of a clean air zone (CAZ) within the city in November 2022 has also had a positive impact on EV readiness.
The city deemed eighth ‘most ready’ to embrace the UK’s EV revolution is Coventry.
A leading EV-friendly hotspot, Coventry has one of the highest charger availability scores in the UK. The city has also taken advantage of government funding to create innovative schemes like ‘Plug-in Coventry’ – one of the UK’s only fast-charging networks.
The electric switchover is also at the heart of Coventry’s economic future. The city is home to the UK’s battery industrialisation centre, and there is also a new Gigafactory to open soon – which will help drive the world’s transition to sustainable transport by producing advanced lithium-ion batteries. The opening of the Gigafactory is also set to create around 6,000 new jobs locally.
Number nine in the UK cities successfully paving the way for the impending EV revolution is Southampton.
The city’s motorists are embracing the switch to EVs in vast numbers – indeed, in 2022, Southampton came second in a list of UK cities with the most EVs financed.
The city council has also developed a comprehensive green city plan – with the goal of ensuring that Southampton is in the top 10% of UK cities with public electric charge points by 2025. It is also offering incentives to inspire residents and businesses to switch to EVs.
According to Motorway’s research, number ten in the cities most-prepared to embrace the electrical switchover in the UK is Oxford.
Residents of the ancient city have already displayed enthusiastic take-up of EVs, with sales of new and used EVs growing year on year as we approach 2030.
Oxford is also home to Europe’s most powerful EV charging hub. The recently opened Energy Superhub Oxford offers ultra-rapid charging for 42 vehicles and is entirely powered by renewable energy.
In February 2022, a zero-emission zone was piloted in Oxford to further encourage residents to make the switch to EVs.
The remaining towns and cities in the top twenty
To rank highly in terms of EV readiness shows a deep commitment to embracing the UK’s impending electrical switchover.
Watch this space
With the 2030 deadline fast approaching, residents in many of the UK’s towns and cities are enthusiastically adopting the new technology and advancing the country towards a greener future. If you are thinking of making the switch, you can sell your car with Motorway.
Congratulations to all the UK cities leading the charge toward the UK’s electric revolution.