The UK regions most ready for EVs - Select Car Leasing
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The UK regions most ready for EVs

As the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars looms, the UK is gearing up for the mainstream shift to electric motoring. With full electric vehicles (EVs) currently accounting for less than 1% of all vehicles on our roads, there’s plenty of work being done to prepare for the inevitably electric future.

And some areas of the UK are setting an early example. That’s why Select Car Leasing has uncovered the regions most ready for the switch, by analysing six motoring- and energy-related factors.

The South leads the UK on the road to electric motoring

Three of the four southern regions sit at the more favourable end of our oil-reliance index. London is the region leading the race to an all-electric future, scoring just 27 points – a lower score reflects lower reliance on oil. 

The capital has the lowest rates of oil dependency across four categories, including the highest percentage of EVs – four times greater than Northern Ireland, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on 1.58% of all vehicles, and plug-in hybrids on 1.21%.

London also had the greatest proportion of EV chargers to fuel pumps, with 2.5 chargers for every one petrol or diesel nozzle. Additionally, electric motorists in London face the lowest wait times for a charger, thanks to the index’s lowest number of BEVs per charger (4.6).

The South West follows with 36 points, winning top position in the availability of renewable energy. It has over 2,000 renewable energy sites for every 100,000 of its population, with 13.8% of the UK’s total sites residing within its borders.

London has the highest proportion of hybrids

The alternative for those who aren’t ready for an all-electric car is a plug-in hybrid – a petrol or diesel vehicle with an electric battery and motor. London again leads with 1.21% of its drivers behind the wheel of a plug-in hybrid – almost twice the UK average – then the South East with 1.03%.

While increasing in popularity, however, they still account for only 0.66% of total UK vehicles. Wales scores lowest in this category, with plug-in hybrids making up just 0.29% of its total cars. Northern Ireland follows at 0.3%.

Although hybrids will be around for a little longer, new sales will also be banned by 2035.

There are just 15 EVs per public charging point

In the public network, there are currently 15 battery electric vehicles (BEV) for every charging point on average, suggesting you shouldn’t have much of a wait to charge your EV. The private charging network may take this number down even more, with people topping up at home and work.

London comes out as the least reliant on oil in this category, with just five BEVs shared between each charging point. There are 10,411 chargers and 47,552 BEVs, but tourists should also be considered, who may be likely to drive into the city as EVs are exempt from the congestion and Ultra Low Emission Zone charges – saving almost £30 per day.

The North East is close behind, with only seven BEVs for every charger. You’ll find 1,941 chargers and 44,927 BEVs in England’s most northerly region.

Shaking up the results, the South West is the most oil-reliant region in this category, with an average of 28 BEVs for each charger. There, 63,917 BEVs must compete for one of the 2,233 charging points available. 

The South East follows thanks to its high number of BEVs (95,226). Residents have 3,962 chargers between them, suggesting high wait times with 24 vehicles per charger. The North West is just behind on 23 BEVs per charger.

Northern Ireland is the most oil-reliant area in the UK

Taking the title for the most oil-reliant location in the UK is Northern Ireland, with a score of 48 out of a potential 72. The country was highest on oil dependency in two of the six categories.

With only 0.4% of vehicles in the country being fully electric and 271 combustion-engined cars for every fuel pump, it suggests the country is not yet ready for a mainstream switch to electric motoring, and has a lot to do before 2030.

The North West is the second-most dependent on oil, only four points lower than Northern Ireland on overall score. It scored poorly on renewable energy and proportion of EV chargers – with only one EV charger for every four traditional pumps.

The West Midlands is third, also on 44 points, scoring poorly on renewable energy potential and the proportion of EVs.

Over two-thirds of public refuelling points are petrol or diesel pumps

Of all the ways to fill up your car, whether it’s an electric motor or internal combustion engine, 71.7% of UK stations are occupied by petrol and diesel fuel pumps. However, if you consider that you can have a private charger at home or work, EVs will be performing a little better than suggested.

Northern Ireland is the most reliant on oil in this category, with 92.9% of all fuel sources catering for petrol and diesel vehicles alone. Wales follows on 79.2% and the North West close behind at 78.1%.

The UK has 582 vehicles per fuel pump

Despite the ever-growing number of EVs in the UK, petrol and diesel drivers are still facing a long wait at the pumps – on average, there are 582 vehicles for each fuel pump.

Drivers in Northern Ireland fare far better, however, with only 270 vehicles per pump. That’s a considerable drop on Scotland and Wales in second and third on 453 and 471 respectively.

The South East has the highest number of vehicles per pump, shadowing the UK average with 738 cars for every pump. London sits closely behind on 718 – one of the few categories it scored poorly on. And considering the number of tourists driving into the capital each day, the real-world number is expected to be a lot higher.

London isn’t creating enough renewable electricity for its residents

Although the capital led in the majority of categories, it falls behind when it comes to renewable energy. We looked at renewable energy demands based on population and uncovered London's 1.7% capability to produce its own renewable electricity across only 25,876 sites.

The North West followed with 6.7% for its 7.4m residents, despite having 85,803 renewable energy sites. The West Midlands and Scotland were next, each with 7%.

The South West scored best thanks to its 123,747 renewable energy sites. The region should be ready to provide more renewable energy to the 5.7m inhabitants with 12.6% capability. The East Midlands was next with 88,173 sites per 4.9m residents.


Using a wide range of sources including data from the Department for Transport, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Zap-Map, we identified which regions were the most dependent on oil, and thus the furthest behind the switch to electric motoring. 

We scored each region in six categories, for a maximum score of 72. The higher the score, the more dependent on oil that region is.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024