Sunderland and Newcastle in the top 5 most EV-friendly cities in the UK


A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed which cities are the best for electric vehicle (EV) drivers to access public charging.

Sunderland is the best city in the UK for EV drivers, with 2.8 EV drivers for each charging station. With 363 licensed EVs and 128 public chargers, the city’s drivers have more electric vehicle chargers between them than in any other city in the UK.

Newcastle upon Tyne also came fifth out of 42 cities, with 4.43 electric vehicles per charger.

The research from CAT Autokeys compared a number of factors to determine the best areas and those with room for improvement.

The study analysed the Department for Transport’s vehicle licensing statistics of the number of licensed EVs in the UK in the 42 cities with the most EV drivers, sourced via an FoI request. It compared them with the number of public EV chargers in each city, to calculate how many electric vehicles there are for every charger.

This follows the UK’s first fast-charging station for electric vehicles, Fastned, opening in Sunderland last year. Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah also recently claimed that the North East is in a position to become the world leader in recycling electric vehicle batteries.

The data, which looks at the 42 cities with the most EV drivers, follows new measures announced by the Chancellor in his 2020 budget. Rishi Sunak committed further support for electric vehicles with Plug-in Car and Van Grants, and pledged £500m for the rollout of a fast-charging network for electric vehicles.

It also comes on the back of a recent study by LeasePlan that found that insufficient charging infrastructure is preventing 64% of people from making the change to EV.

The top ten cities, with the lowest car-to-charger ratios were:

  • Sunderland: 2.8 electric vehicles per charger
  • Coventry: 3.2 electric vehicles per charger
  • Liverpool: 3.63 electric vehicles per charger
  • Dundee: 4.08 electric vehicles per charger
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne: 4.43 electric vehicles per charger
  • Salford: 4.5 electric vehicles per charger
  • Lincoln: 4.53 electric vehicles per charger
  • Norwich: 4.89 electric vehicles per charger
  • Derry: 5.04 electric vehicles per charger
  • Glasgow: 5.2 electric vehicles per charger

The Government’s Road to Zero strategy highlights the aim of by 2040, for 50-70% of new car sales, and 40% of new van sales to be “ultra-low emission”; and from 2040 onwards, only cars with zero emissions able to be sold.

Andy Allan, Owner at CAT Autokeys, said: “It’s great to see how many cities are performing well as the call for more action on the environment continues. We don’t want our index to highlight the ‘worst’ cities – just the ones with room for improvement.

“If the government wants to encourage more people to purchase EVs in the future, there are several things it must do to make that happen. One of those things is to ensure that there is an adequate number of chargers in each city. For example, if a city only has 42 public chargers available for 11,545 electric cars – and a driver needs to charge their car whilst in a public place, there’s a high probability they’ll come into difficulty doing so, especially as the number of EV drivers continues to increase.”

The full data set of 42 cities and methodology can be found here