Why London is Top of the League for Electric Car Drivers

Created on
June 28, 2022

How well equipped is your city for electric vehicles?

Are you thinking about switching to an electric vehicle (EV)? Or perhaps worried about the practicality of EV ownership and charging are holding you back? New research by Saga Insurance has looked into the reality of EV ownership in different cities around the UK to find just how easy or difficult life with an electric car is likely to be. 

How well equipped is your city for electric vehicles?

With the skyrocketing cost of fuel, the devastating impact of climate change and the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, it’s hardly surprising that sales of electric vehicles are soaring. But just what is day-to-life like with an electric vehicle in your city? That’s exactly what the new research was designed to figure out.

The research assessed the availability of charging points, the cost of charging, the accessibility of off-street parking and the presence of clean air zones to reveal the best and worst places to own an electric car. 

And the results are in (drumroll please)…

The best cities in the UK to own an electric car are: 

1st Greater London

2nd Newcastle

3rd Glasgow 

And the worst cities are:

1st Cardiff

2nd Stoke-on-Trent

3rd Southampton

Buses and cars on Londons busy roads
Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

How were the cities ranked?

The researchers looked at 20 cities across the UK and assigned them points based on how they performed in each category. Greater London scored maximum points for the availability of off-street parking and the presence of the 24/7 Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which allows EV drivers to make big savings. 

It also ranked highly for its density of charging points, although it was beaten by Coventry and Brighton and Hove in that category. Perhaps surprisingly, the capital also scored well above the national average for the cost of charging. Here Belfast was the clear winner though, as it’s mostly free to charge electric cars throughout Northern Ireland.

Newcastle and Glasgow also performed very well, with Newcastle getting good scores across the board and Glasgow receiving maximum points for its clean air zone.    

At the other end of the scale, Cardiff was found to be the least prepared city for electrification, with the highest cost of charging, low availability of charging points and below-average off-street parking options. There’s plenty of work for the Welsh Government to do there then.

Other cities to note were Coventry, which has the best availability of charge points anywhere in the UK, helping it to fourth place overall. And Portsmouth, which currently has the highest proportionate uptake of low-emissions vehicles in the UK and was the seventh-best city for EVs.  

Tesla in London on road in Autumn
Photo by Jordan Brierley on Unsplash

Why is London the best place to drive an electric car?

If you live or work in London and drive a car in the city, you’ll know that London it’s certainly not a great place for motorists. The traffic in some areas means it’s the only place in the country where it’s sometimes quicker to walk than drive. Then there’s the Congestion Charge, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), sickeningly expensive parking and cyclists and moped riders everywhere. However, if you drive an electric vehicle, it suddenly becomes a utopia (of sorts), and here’s why.

Congestion Charge

London’s Congestion Charge runs from 7am to 10pm every day of the year apart from Christmas Day and costs an eyewatering £15 a day. However, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible for a 100% cleaner vehicle discount. That means an electric vehicle could save commuters around £330 a month (based on a 22-day working week) or £4,000 per year. 

Ultra-Low Emission Zone

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone costs £12.50 per day for cars, motorcycles and small vans that don’t meet the emissions criteria, with the charge applying 24/7. All fully electric vehicles are exempt from the charge, which can potentially save commuters £275 per month or £3,250 a year. 

Easy charging

With 10,800 charging points in Greater London and more rapid chargers being installed all the time, charging an electric vehicle in the city has never been so easy. And, rather than having to sign up for each charging network individually and use lots of different payment methods, you can use the Bonnet app to access and pay for your charge on more than 17 different networks. Check out our coverage.  

Growing range

Most modern electric vehicles now have a range of more than 150 miles on a single charge, while some can cover 300 or more. That’s typically more than enough for most commuters into London. And with the excellent charging infrastructure in the city, if you need to charge up, you can. Find out which EVs have the longest range in 2022.

Easy to drive

Electric cars have no gears and deliver all the power immediately from the motor to the wheels. That gives you the nippy acceleration to zip in and out of the traffic more easily. And with no clutch or even a gearbox, it also makes for a more relaxed driving experience. 

Bonnet CTO and Osprey team standing next to Osprey chargers in Croydon

Why are drivers switching to EVs?

As well as the best and worst cities for electric cars, the research also looked at the different reasons drivers are choosing to make the switch to EVs. It found that most drivers are motivated by environmental and financial factors:

- They’re better for the environment (45%)

- To reduce fuel costs (43%)

- The ease of access to fast, easy home charging (28%)

- Everyone will change eventually, so I wanted to get ahead (26%)  

The research also found widespread enthusiasm among drivers to switch to electric cars. In total, 72% of men and 65% of women said they’d consider buying an EV, with 16-24-year-olds the most enthusiastic (85%) and drivers over 55 the most hesitant (54%).

Of the 32% of drivers who said they are not considering switching to an electric car, the most common reason was the upfront cost (72%). Half said their city was not equipped for electric vehicle charging, while 23% mistakenly said they wouldn’t be switching because charging an EV is more expensive than filling a petrol or diesel car. Clearly, a lack of education about the benefits of EVs is still affecting people’s choices, and that’s what we hope to change. 

Make EV ownership easier with Bonnet

At Bonnet, we’re at the forefront of the charging revolution and are committed to making EV ownership easier, wherever you are. Just download the Bonnet app to access thousands of charge points across the UK on nearly all the different networks. With one payment and a flat tariff across all charge points, we make charging your EV a breeze.   

June 28, 2022

How well equipped is your city for electric vehicles?

Are you thinking about switching to an electric vehicle (EV)? Or perhaps worried about the practicality of EV ownership and charging are holding you back? New research by Saga Insurance has looked into the reality of EV ownership in different cities around the UK to find just how easy or difficult life with an electric car is likely to be. 

How well equipped is your city for electric vehicles?

With the skyrocketing cost of fuel, the devastating impact of climate change and the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, it’s hardly surprising that sales of electric vehicles are soaring. But just what is day-to-life like with an electric vehicle in your city? That’s exactly what the new research was designed to figure out.

The research assessed the availability of charging points, the cost of charging, the accessibility of off-street parking and the presence of clean air zones to reveal the best and worst places to own an electric car. 

And the results are in (drumroll please)…

The best cities in the UK to own an electric car are: 

1st Greater London

2nd Newcastle

3rd Glasgow 

And the worst cities are:

1st Cardiff

2nd Stoke-on-Trent

3rd Southampton

Buses and cars on Londons busy roads
Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

How were the cities ranked?

The researchers looked at 20 cities across the UK and assigned them points based on how they performed in each category. Greater London scored maximum points for the availability of off-street parking and the presence of the 24/7 Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which allows EV drivers to make big savings. 

It also ranked highly for its density of charging points, although it was beaten by Coventry and Brighton and Hove in that category. Perhaps surprisingly, the capital also scored well above the national average for the cost of charging. Here Belfast was the clear winner though, as it’s mostly free to charge electric cars throughout Northern Ireland.

Newcastle and Glasgow also performed very well, with Newcastle getting good scores across the board and Glasgow receiving maximum points for its clean air zone.    

At the other end of the scale, Cardiff was found to be the least prepared city for electrification, with the highest cost of charging, low availability of charging points and below-average off-street parking options. There’s plenty of work for the Welsh Government to do there then.

Other cities to note were Coventry, which has the best availability of charge points anywhere in the UK, helping it to fourth place overall. And Portsmouth, which currently has the highest proportionate uptake of low-emissions vehicles in the UK and was the seventh-best city for EVs.  

Tesla in London on road in Autumn
Photo by Jordan Brierley on Unsplash

Why is London the best place to drive an electric car?

If you live or work in London and drive a car in the city, you’ll know that London it’s certainly not a great place for motorists. The traffic in some areas means it’s the only place in the country where it’s sometimes quicker to walk than drive. Then there’s the Congestion Charge, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), sickeningly expensive parking and cyclists and moped riders everywhere. However, if you drive an electric vehicle, it suddenly becomes a utopia (of sorts), and here’s why.

Congestion Charge

London’s Congestion Charge runs from 7am to 10pm every day of the year apart from Christmas Day and costs an eyewatering £15 a day. However, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible for a 100% cleaner vehicle discount. That means an electric vehicle could save commuters around £330 a month (based on a 22-day working week) or £4,000 per year. 

Ultra-Low Emission Zone

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone costs £12.50 per day for cars, motorcycles and small vans that don’t meet the emissions criteria, with the charge applying 24/7. All fully electric vehicles are exempt from the charge, which can potentially save commuters £275 per month or £3,250 a year. 

Easy charging

With 10,800 charging points in Greater London and more rapid chargers being installed all the time, charging an electric vehicle in the city has never been so easy. And, rather than having to sign up for each charging network individually and use lots of different payment methods, you can use the Bonnet app to access and pay for your charge on more than 17 different networks. Check out our coverage.  

Growing range

Most modern electric vehicles now have a range of more than 150 miles on a single charge, while some can cover 300 or more. That’s typically more than enough for most commuters into London. And with the excellent charging infrastructure in the city, if you need to charge up, you can. Find out which EVs have the longest range in 2022.

Easy to drive

Electric cars have no gears and deliver all the power immediately from the motor to the wheels. That gives you the nippy acceleration to zip in and out of the traffic more easily. And with no clutch or even a gearbox, it also makes for a more relaxed driving experience. 

Bonnet CTO and Osprey team standing next to Osprey chargers in Croydon

Why are drivers switching to EVs?

As well as the best and worst cities for electric cars, the research also looked at the different reasons drivers are choosing to make the switch to EVs. It found that most drivers are motivated by environmental and financial factors:

- They’re better for the environment (45%)

- To reduce fuel costs (43%)

- The ease of access to fast, easy home charging (28%)

- Everyone will change eventually, so I wanted to get ahead (26%)  

The research also found widespread enthusiasm among drivers to switch to electric cars. In total, 72% of men and 65% of women said they’d consider buying an EV, with 16-24-year-olds the most enthusiastic (85%) and drivers over 55 the most hesitant (54%).

Of the 32% of drivers who said they are not considering switching to an electric car, the most common reason was the upfront cost (72%). Half said their city was not equipped for electric vehicle charging, while 23% mistakenly said they wouldn’t be switching because charging an EV is more expensive than filling a petrol or diesel car. Clearly, a lack of education about the benefits of EVs is still affecting people’s choices, and that’s what we hope to change. 

Make EV ownership easier with Bonnet

At Bonnet, we’re at the forefront of the charging revolution and are committed to making EV ownership easier, wherever you are. Just download the Bonnet app to access thousands of charge points across the UK on nearly all the different networks. With one payment and a flat tariff across all charge points, we make charging your EV a breeze.   

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