The UK’s best and worst cities for charging an electric car

Electric car charging winners and losers

The most EV-friendly areas of the UK have been revealed, based on the number of public charging points for electric cars. 

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Motorway.co.uk identified the car charging winners and losers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, London benefits from the most plug-in points.

The best London boroughs – Westminster, Richmond, Wandsworth and Hammersmith – all offer more than 200 public charging stations.

London Borough

Population

Number of EV charging  points – current

EV charging points per 1,000 population

Westminster

255,324

375

1.47

Richmond upon Thames

196,904

265

1.35

Hammersmith and Fulham

185,426

216

1.16

Wandsworth

326,474

250

0.77

Islington

239,142

166

0.69

Elsewhere, only Nottingham has more than 200 chargers, although Milton Keynes leads in terms of how many people each is shared between.

Even so, 0.83 charge points per 1,000 people doesn’t sound much, especially when you compare it with Westminster’s 1.47. 

Town/City

Population

Number of EV charging  points – current

EV charging points per 1,000 population

Milton  Keynes

229,941

192

0.83

Aberdeen

196,904

100

0.51

Newcastle upon Tyne

192,382

75

0.39

Coventry

185,426

122

0.34

Nottingham

326,474

215

0.29

Edinburgh

239,142

130

0.28

Before we consider the losers, it’s worth noting that charging points on private land weren’t included in this data. This is purely an examination of council-sanctioned car charging.

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Electric car charging winners and losers

London isn’t a slam-dunk win for electric car drivers: both Enfield and Harrow have less than 10 charging points.

The borough of Bexley, meanwhile, has a grand total of zero charging facilities: the only part of London that goes completely without. Apparently, Bexley council plans to have 13 charge points up and running by the end of 2019.

London Borough

Population

Number of EV charging  points – current

EV charging points per 1,000 population

Bexley

247,258

0

0.00

Enfield

333,869

9

0.03

Harrow

250,149

7

0.03

Newham

352,005

10

0.03

Redbridge

303,858

11

0.04

If these areas of London deal without charging points, what’s the rest of the country like?

Well, there are entire cities with no public places to plug in. Mansfield, Northampton, Swansea and Kingston upon Hull, all go without. 

Mansfield

171,958

0

0.00

Northampton

215,963

0

0.00

Swansea

300,352

0

0.00

Kingston upon Hull

314,018

0

0.00

“UK government has a mammoth task on its hands to create an EV charging infrastructure that can cope with the expected growth in electric car ownership over the next 20 years,” said Alex Buttle, director of Motorway.co.uk.

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“In fact, its own 2040 switchover target from fossil fuels depends on it. The government is trying to encourage people to switch to electric cars, but many vehicle owners are reluctant to do so until they are confident the infrastructure is fit for purpose.

“We carried out a survey of UK drivers recently and an inadequate charging infrastructure was the most common reason cited by respondents as to why they wouldn’t consider switching to an electric car over the next five years.

“Brexit is understandably at the top of the government’s agenda at the moment, but it’s in danger of taking its eyes off this huge infrastructure challenge, and a public that has no faith in the charging programme is unlikely to buy into the idea of early switching.”