World Cities Day: Is your city ready for electric vehicles?

Becky Mundie | 25/10/2022

For World Cities Day, which of the UK’s cities are ready for the EV revolution and which are considered the 'greenest'?

At a Glance

See which cities are embracing electric vehicle charging, reassuring existing and aspiring EV owners.

Which UK cities are the most sustainable, from green spaces to solar power, and how can cities improve?

What is World Cities Day?

World Cities Day marks the end of Urban October every 31st of October since 2014.

This year’s theme for World Cities Day is ‘Act Local to Go Global’ with the aim to share experiences and approaches to local action, what local action has worked, and what is needed to empower local and regional governments to create greener, more equitable and sustainable cities.

World Cities Day is focused on adapting cities across the globe for climate resilience. As more people choose electric vehicles (or EVs), our cities have an important role in encouraging this sustainable transport and providing the necessary infrastructure to support this transition - especially to enable those to switch to an electric car who can’t have a charger installed at their home.

The top UK cities for EV charging

With Zap-Map’s data, we’ve been taking a look at which of the UK’s cities are ready for the EV revolution.

The results are in:

  1. London

  2. Newcastle

  3. Glasgow

  4. Coventry

  5. Edinburgh

  6. Birmingham

  7. Portsmouth

  8. Leeds

  9. Brighton

  10. Sheffield

Top of the EV charging charts

Greater London is leading the way in the UK with an impressive 11044 public charge points across the city - but as the biggest city in the UK, we’re not surprised to see the capital in the top spot on the numbers alone.

The South-East has a total of 4533 public chargers and Scotland has 3304.

That might seem like a lot of people clamouring to use a charge point, but not all full-driving license holders are driving EVs yet - so the number of drivers that need to use the charging points right now is lower. But that still doesn’t mean our cities can take their foot off the pedal when it comes to the availability of charging points; as the number of EV drivers ramps up, so does the need to prepare our cities for sustainable transport.

 

Public EV chargers are on the up

The UK charging point infrastructure is growing fast. Zap-Map stats show there is now over 34,860 electric vehicle charging points across 20,088 charging locations in the UK. 1,126 new EV charging devices were added to their database in September alone - a rise of 35% from September 2021 - providing a great mix of on-street residential chargers, destination chargers, and en-route rapid chargers. All help to support day-to-day urban driving, as well as longer electric journeys.

What’s the best bit about all this data? We've already seen it inform some big, positive shifts in council policy across the country.

It's promising that the number of charges is always going up, even if they’re popping up a little more quickly in some areas than others.

Drivers will also have better access to electric vehicle charge points across the country thanks to a new pilot backed by £20 million of government and industry funding announced on 24th August 2022. The funding is expected to deliver over 1,000 public charge points across the areas of Barnet, Dorset, Durham, Kent, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk, and Warrington.

One of the main barriers for drivers to switch to an EV is worrying about running out of charge on a long journey. That’s why it’s vital that all councils invest in publicly available charging points and prepare for the rise of EVs on our roads.

Lots of drivers are beginning to understand the benefits of driving an EV and are considering the switch. But it’s a big decision to make, and anyone thinking about switching needs to be confident that they’ll be able to charge their car when they need to. Public chargers open up possibilities for those who can’t, or aren’t quite ready, to get an electric car charger installed at home.

The message from the data

Our data should reassure EV owners – and aspiring EV owners – that the electric vehicle revolution is well underway, as well as highlight the major cities that need to pick up the pace of their drive towards a clean energy future.

If you’re an EV driver - or you’re thinking about it - you’ll see that the electric vehicle revolution has begun across the UK. And whether you’re based in or near a city leading the way with providing public charging points, or whether your nearest city hasn’t yet met their pace, either way you’ll see the data tells us one key thing - the number of public charging points is on the rise. That’s good news for EV drivers, future EV drivers, and the future of sustainable transport.

The number of charging points refers to publicly available charging devices in each authority, sourced from the electric vehicle charging point platform Zap-Map. All data is accurate as of 03/10/2022.

Which is the UK’s greenest city?

Bristol may have won European Green Capital status back in 2015, but it found itself fifth on Southampton University’s Green Cities Report in October 2021.

In third place, you’ll find Cardiff, with Edinburgh taking silver for its 49% of green space. Leading the pack is none other than the Steel City itself – Sheffield.

Based on the Green Cities Report by Southampton University experts commissioned by NatWest, October 2021

What should other cities learn from Sheffield?

Green is good!

A third of Sheffield lying within the Peak District national park does help its case, but 60% of the whole of the city is made up of green space – that’s 250 parks, woodlands and gardens!

Pedestrianize

Encouraging walking and cycling is one massive way to help make a city greener and tackle climate change. Sheffield Council’s ‘Grey to Green’ scheme won an award for their regenerated city centre with cycling and walking routes, as well as transforming a former ring road into “an attractive pedestrian walkway lined with trees and wildflowers.”

Renewable energy is our friend

80% of Sheffield’s renewable energy comes from plant biomass, followed by solar power and municipal solid waste. A number of renewable energy sites generate hundreds of gigawatts of electricity per hour, too.

Encourage low emissions

As well as using low amounts of energy, Sheffield residents drive a high number of cars that are compliant with Ultra Low Emissions Zones.

Information gathered from metro.co.uk

What makes cities green, and how can they and their residents become more sustainable?

From growing vegetables and recycling to electric vehicle charging and generating their own energy, cities across the UK can do (and are doing) their bit to adopt and encourage a greener, more sustainable way of life.

As for city residents, you can glean a lot from Google searches to calculate the most sustainability-minded cities. It is, of course, the people who move our cities forward! The city with the highest sustainable searches was Bristol, second Edinburgh, and third Liverpool.

How can a city be greener?

LED lighting

LED bulbs are proven to be up to 80% more efficient (in energy and cost) than fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.

Composting and recycling

It’s a great way to encourage zero waste, in both food and rubbish, with some urban areas adopting better food waste collection services.

Vegetable growing

It’s said that organic is better – and often cheaper. From a back garden or allotment hobby to growing produce just to avoid supermarkets, becoming green-thumbed saw a surge during lockdown – and is continuing to grow.

Water butts

To make the most out of rainwater, water butts are a tried-and-tested way to cut down water bills.

Smart meters

They’re hardly new to us nowadays, but they’re the most accurate way to monitor energy use!

Clean Air Zones

Clean Air Zones are being put in place in busy areas of towns and cities, usually city centres, with the mission to improve air quality across the UK.

Cities with existing and planned clean-air zones:

  • Bath

  • Birmingham

  • Bradford

  • Bristol (charging starts on 28 November 2022)

  • Greater Manchester (under review)

  • Portsmouth

  • Sheffield (charging starts in early 2023)

  • Tyneside - Newcastle and Gateshead (charging starts late 2022 to early 2023)

EVs and charging

The UK’s carbon emissions would be cut by 12% if everyone started driving an electric vehicle tomorrow. EVs are becoming the norm and more accessible with more public charging points are popping up every day.

Solar and battery storage

From lower energy costs to fighting climate change, there are many advantages of solar panels – not to mention that you can save 90% on energy bills if you pair them with battery storage!

The UK government estimates technologies like battery storage systems could save the UK energy system up to £40 billion by 2050.

For EV charging, solar power and battery storage - Egg can provide solutions for all.

Click here to get cracking to help make your house (and city) a green home.

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© 2023 Egg - All Rights Reserved; A Liberty Global plc company. Registered address: Griffin House, 161 Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith, W6 8BS. Company number: 07477370; VAT number: GB109695779. In relation to consumer credit, Phoenix Renewables Ltd, trading as Egg and The Phoenix Works, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Reference 965996)