Four UK cities paving the way for total electric vehicle domination
Brighton has been named a prime example of a city that’s paving the way for total electric vehicle domination, but where else is? Check out this blog to find out!
The UK is showing no signs of pulling the plug on electric vehicles any time soon; the demand is only increasing amongst drivers. As of May 2023, there are more than 780,000 fully electric cars on UK roads – which is an astonishing increase of 281 per cent since 2020.
From lower running costs to reduced noise pollution – not to mention the positive impact they have on the environment – it's no wonder that more Brits are making the switch from fuel to electric.
But which UK cities and towns are putting in the effort to shift drivers towards an electric vehicle future? Samuel Brackenbury, Underwriting Systems Thinking Specialist at vehicle finance company First Response Finance, explores four examples here.
An independent analysis by Compare The Market revealed Brighton and Hove to be one of the best-prepared areas for electric vehicle uptake. With the government's plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, it makes sense for cities and towns to start developing immediately.
Lack of charging points is one of the most common reasons why some drivers are refusing to make the switch. Well, according to Chargemap, Brighton currently boasts 137 charging stations across the city; as it's 82.79 km² in size, this works out at 1.6 charging points per kilometre.
So Brighton-based drivers can be assured that they will have the facilities to recharge while out and about, soothing one key worry for drivers still unconvinced about the logistics behind running an EV.
The city of Milton Keynes is showing the rest of the UK how it's done. The area spans 82 km² and has over 400 charging stations installed right across the city. That means an impressive 4.5 charging points per kilometre!
Additionally, Milton Keynes offers free EV parking across more than 15,000 bays if you have a Green CMK parking (virtual) permit. We all know how expensive parking can be sometimes, especially in a city centre, so this should serve as another incentive to get people to make the switch.
In 2014, after receiving £9 million in funding from the Go Ultra Low Cities scheme, the city used a portion of this money to open the UK's first all-EV, multi-brand car showroom designed to educate drivers on the benefits of EVs.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the capital has made the list. In fact, London has been named as the city leading the charge to an electric vehicle future in the UK, with EVs making up almost a quarter (25 per cent) of new and used car sales.
As per ZapMap, it's the geographical area that has the most EV charging points (13,455), meaning the city has approximately 8.572 charging points per kilometre. That's impressive!
There are also further financial benefits for driving an electric vehicle in London; zero-emission vehicles (that meet the criteria) are eligible for a 100% discount on the Congestion Charge until 24 December 2025.
Southampton is another city that's been praised for appropriately preparing for an electric vehicle future. Not only does it have 48 charging stations across the 51-km² area, but it's also developed a comprehensive green city plan to improve the uptake of EV drivers.
Additionally, the city offers a range of incentives to encourage people within the community to make the switch. This includes a whopping 90 per cent discount on any city centre season ticket, free crossing of the Itchen Bridge, and various plug-in car grants.
As the UK continues to battle through a cost-of-living crisis, more drivers are looking for ways to save money in any way that they can. With big cities like Southampton promising discounts and freebies just for driving an EV instead of an ICE (internal combustion engine), it makes sense to make the switch as early as possible.
Convincing all UK drivers to make the switch to an electric vehicle was never going to be easy; humans are simply hardwired to resist change.
That's why we need the support of the government and local councils. To comfortably let go of something we've always known, and embrace something entirely different, we need to have confidence that all our needs have been addressed.
Factors UK drivers are keeping an eye on include:
- Government initiatives and incentives;
- Electric car finance;
- Improved charging infrastructure;
- Regular analysis of the availability and accessibility of charging stations;
- Environmental awareness;
- Cost and affordability.
Samuel said: "To reach Net Zero, we need more people to convert to the EV way of life, but that's not going to happen unless all reasonable concerns have been mitigated.
"We all know that there are environmental benefits to driving an electric vehicle, but these benefits aren't strong enough on their own. If they were, everybody would make the switch.
"Instead, drivers need to know that their lives will be improved – not disrupted – by driving an electric vehicle. Only the government and local councils have the power to do this on a large scale."
Don't ignore the inevitable
Electric vehicles are here to stay. With the government's plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, drivers should understand that the nation is moving, with determination, towards a goal of total electric vehicle domination.
The future of EVs in the UK is promising. Technological advancements coupled with ever-growing consumer awareness and demand will continue to contribute to the uptake of more electric vehicle sales.
The revolution is already underway!