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

October 2021

This year World Cities Day is focused on adapting cities across the globe for climate resilience. With Electric Vehicle adoption on the rise, our cities have an important role in adapting to encourage the use of sustainable transport and provide the necessary infrastructure to support this transition.

At The Phoenix Works, we’ve been busy crunching the numbers – with the help of data gathered by our friends over at Zap-map – to build a picture of which of the UK’s largest cities are best prepared for the EV revolution.

We’ve compared the number of full driving license holders in the 10 largest cities in the UK, with the number of publicly available EV charge-points, to highlight which areas of the country are best prepared for the EV revolution; namely, the cities with the highest numbers of charging points per license holder.

Aside from London, which is some way ahead of the rest of the UK providing the city with a huge 7,865 public charge points, Leeds is the next leading city with 289 public charge points available, meaning 1,611 full license holders per charge point.


Of course, not all full driving license holders currently drive EV’s, which reduces the number of drivers per charge-point significantly. However, cities are going to have to work hard to ensure they are well prepared to avoid  large queues forming as the number of EV owners ramps up.


At the other end of the spectrum, energy is running low in Manchester with 5,970 license holders to a charger. Just above Manchester are Bristol (5,380) and Newcastle (5,460) making them the least prepared for the rise of EV’s.

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


The UK charging point infrastructure is growing at a rapid rate, and Zap-Map stats show there are over 26,000 devices now on the public network.  856 new devices were added to Zap-Map last month alone; providing a great mix of on-street residential chargers, destination chargers, and en-route rapid chargers – necessary to support day-to-day urban driving, as well as longer electric journeys.


The most heartening aspect of all this data is that it has already informed some big shifts in council policy across the country.

Local councils must be prepared for the increase in the amount of EVs on our roads. One of the main barriers to purchasing one of these vehicles is the fear of running out of charge on a long journey, so it’s crucial that all councils, particularly those towards the bottom of these rankings, recognise the need to invest in publicly available charging points

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 have assurances that there will be somewhere to charge their car regularly.

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.

The number of charging points refers to publicly available charging devices in each authority, taken from the Department for Transport’s Electric Vehicle Charging Device Statistics (October 2021) which is sourced from the electrical vehicle charging point platform Zap-Map. All data is accurate as of 29/10/2021.


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