Press release: Electri-Cities! UK’s Most ‘Electric Car Friendly’ Towns Revealed

1st August 2018 | By Alex Buttle

● 52% of car owners say they don’t expect to switch to an electric car soon because of the UK’s inadequate charging infrastructure^
● Poole, Dorset has the UK’s highest percentage of properties with private off-street parking, offering more electric car home charging opportunities
● London has the lowest percentage of properties with private off-street parking, meaning less potential for home charging points

Poole, in Dorset, is the most electric car-friendly town in the UK, while London, not surprisingly, is the least friendly, according to research into home car charging by Motorway.co.uk, the car buying comparison website.

Analysing the towns and cities that are best placed to create a substantial home charging network, Motorway.co.uk assessed the percentage of homes currently on the market in major towns and cities with private, off-street parking, enabling households to easily install an electric charge point and power up their vehicles at home.

electric car charging in the UK
The problem of electric car charging is perhaps the biggest barrier to ownership in the UK

Motorway.co.uk used new properties for sale data* as a gauge of total and type of housing stock, to reveal the areas with the biggest opportunities and challenges for home charging.

The Government has said it wants all petrol and diesel cars off UK roads by 2040 to be replaced by more environmentally-friendly electric cars. For that to happen, motorists need to be able to charge their electric vehicles easily and cheaply. However, a recent electric car survey of car owners by Motorway.co.uk revealed that more than half (52%) said they weren’t planning to switch to electric any time soon because of the UK’s inadequate charging infrastructure^.

Motorway.co.uk’s home charging research revealed that Poole has the highest percentage of current properties for sale with off-street parking. In Poole, more than 9 in 10 properties on the market have some form of private parking, so the Dorset town is perfectly set up to create a home charging network over the next 10-15 years. Similarly, Solihull and Chelmsford have more than 90% of current properties on the market with off-street parking.

This is in stark contrast to London, where less than half (48.6%) of properties on the market have off-street parking available. This presents a headache for residents who currently have to drive to a public charging points and local councils who will need to build more shared charging units to cope with demand. Comparing boroughs, 83.7% of properties for sale in Havering have off-street parking, while only 19.3% in Islington do.

Further research by Motorway.co.uk also reveals that 80.7% of properties for sale in London are flats or terraced houses. Although many have off-street parking, that doesn’t mean electric charging points can be installed, as it’s likely the freeholder will own the land and the flat owner will have to get their permission – and potentially pay a pricey levy.

The problem is even more severe in some boroughs. Motorway.co.uk research reveals in a third of London boroughs, 95% of housing stock is made up of terraced houses and flats, which will either have no private parking, shared parking, or allocated bay parking, where the land is not owned by the homeowner.

The challenge facing the Government is ensuring that electric car charging infrastructure can handle the 2040 switch over to electric and hybrid vehicles. And a vital component of this network will be home charging, as many people will want the option of leaving their cars charging overnight at home, not on the street.

But that in itself creates its own problem, as a large number of properties in the UK, particularly terraced houses and flats, won’t have driveways or off-street parking, or if they do, there will need to be multiple charging points installed for all flats to use at considerable cost.

The following table shows the most electric car friendly UK towns and cities, with the highest percentage of properties with private, off-street parking:

electric car friendly towns
The towns with the most potential for electric car charging points

The following table shows the least electric car friendly UK towns and cities, with the lowest percentage of properties with private, off-street parking:

least electric car friendly towns
The UK’s least electric car friendly towns

The following table shows the London boroughs with the highest and lowest percentage of properties with private, off-street parking:

London boroughs, not all great for electric car charging

Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk comments:

“The physical shape of Britain’s housing stock could put a spanner in the works of the Government’s electric switch over plans. Although many car owners can expect to have access to on-street charging stations, there’s no guarantee there will be enough to go around.

“Most people will want the convenience of charging their car at home rather than having to walk to a main road to pick up their vehicle. Home charging is usually fine if you have a detached or semi-detached house with a driveway, but what about the millions of people who live in flats and terraced houses with no private, off-street parking?

“As the country moves closer to the 2040 Government deadline proposed for a UK-wide diesel and petrol vehicle ban, the need for an electric car charging infrastructure becomes ever-more critical. We are talking about more than 30 million new power-hungry electric cars on the road by then if the switch over happens as expected.

“The big question that needs to be answered is how will most people be able to charge their vehicles at home? In some towns, the type of property stock will make it a lot easier to create a home charging infrastructure, but the challenge will be in urban areas with a high density of flats such as London, where off-street parking is limited.

“If the UK needs more on-street charging stations, that is a cost that cash-strapped councils will need to meet. Will there really be enough funds available to power a shared charging network for 30 million cars by 2040?”

Data and methodology

^In February 2018, Motorway.co.uk’s own research suggested 52% of people do not expect to switch to electric because of the UK’s inadequate charging structure
* Motorway.co.uk used publicly available property data for this research. Data was aggregated by looking at a number of market-leading property websites