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Electric Cars: Is the UK ready for Boris Johnson’s plan to ban sales of new diesel cars and vans by 2030?

The ten point plan as set out by the government aims to build back better, support green jobs, and accelerate the UK’s path to net zero. One of the strategies of the green industrial revolution is to ban the sales on new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

In order to find out whether the UK is ready for the Electric-Vehicle (EV) revolution, Lease Car evaluated all of the regions in the UK for four key EV ready measures.

These four unique criteria include:

  • the number of licensed plug-in cars per 100,000 population
  • the number of public charging devices per 100,000 population
  • the number of rapid charging devices per 100,000 population
  • the total CO2e caused by transport

Are the people ready to go green?

In order for the EV revolution to work, the people need to be bought into the idea of buying these cars. The research used the number of licensed plug-in cars per 100,000 people to determine the public’s incentive to make the switch.

With the UK having only 453 licensed plug-in cars per 100,000 people, it is unfortunately, looking quite dire.

When segmenting into each of these regions, it is clearly visible which areas are likely to and which regions of the UK still need a bit of convincing.

The North East region (ranked last) has just 176 licensed plug-in cars per 100,000 people, a fraction of the 716 in the West Midlands (ranked first).

Tim Alcock of LeaseCar suggests that “One of the main reasons why people haven’t made the switch is the upfront cost of an electric vehicle. In order for the government’s plans to work, the government should consider expanding on the list of vehicles eligible for the plug-in grant and lift the discount on the price of brand new low emission vehicles beyond what is currently offered, which is 35% or up to £3,000 whichever is lower, for those who need more.”

The full rank of regions and their respective numbers of licensed plug-in cars per 100,000 people are as follows:

RegionNumber of licensed plug-in cars per 100,000 population
West Midlands716
South East682
South West616
Yorkshire and Humber393
East Midlands316
North West207
North East176


Is the infrastructure ready to support the EV revolution?

Public Charging Devices

While the ban of petrol and diesel car and van sales won’t be taking place until 2030, the government needs to plan ahead in order for an infrastructure that can support the potential number of EVs in the future.

Unlike petrol stations, EVs do have the benefit of being able to be charged at home but having enough public charging devices will still be necessary.

The UK currently only has 27.5 charging devices per 100,000 people, with London leading on this front with 57.8 charging devices per 100,000 people.

Ranking last in this category is Yorkshire and the Humber, which has an appalling 17.4 charging devices per 100,000 people.

A table of regions and their respective numbers of public charging devices per 100,000 people are as follows:

RegionNumber of Public Charging Devices per 100,000 population
North East30.6
South East27.1
South West25.3
North West20.2
East Midlands20.0
West Midlands17.5
Yorkshire and Humber17.4

Source: Department for Transport

Rapid Charging Devices

While the lack of public charging devices can be mediated with home chargers, rapid chargers are desperately needed to allow drivers to quickly top up their car.

According to Pod Point, “a typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty to full with a 7kW charging point. As a result many EV drivers would favour rapid chargers which ‘can add up to 100 miles of range in around 35 minutes with a 50kW rapid charger.”

The UK is severely lacking in having rapid chargers in place. The UK only has 4.83 chargers per 100,000 people, and even when segmented into the respective regions, the analysis showed that every part of the nation will need to work on increasing the number of rapid chargers over the next decade.

A table of regions and their respective numbers of rapid charging devices per 100,000 people are as follows:

RegionNumber of Rapid Charging Devices per 100,000 population
South East5.8
South West5.0
West Midlands4.8
Yorkshire and Humber4.5
North East4.4
East Midlands4.4
North West4.1

Source: Department for Transport

How bad are the UK’s transport emissions?

The government’s announcement of the ten point plan will undoubtedly resolve some of the issues that the analysis has shown so far. It would also require commitment from consumers for a successful rollout.

In order to give an idea of the severity of the matter at hand, the research revealed the UK’s emissions from A-roads, motorways and minor roads totals a staggering 122,651.4 kilo tonnes of CO2e per year, according to the most recent dataset published in 2018.

To put that into perspective, a return flight from London to Hong Kong produces 3.4 tonnes of CO2e, the UK’s emissions from A-roads, motorways and minor roads would allow you to make this trip 36,074 times.

This goes to show how the UK’s transport is a strong contributor to our climate crisis, and the negative impact it has on the environment can be reduced if road users convert from petrol and diesel cars and vans to driving EVs.

For more detailed table of the emissions (A-roads, motorways and minor roads) generated by each region:

RegionEmissions in kt Co2e
South East19064
North West13146
West Midlands11844
South West11228
Yorkshire and Humber10550
East Midlands10231
North East4408


What to consider when purchasing an EV

Hopefully this article better establishes the future of EVs and how it is a benefit for us in the long run. Should this inspire you to start browsing for a low emission vehicle, here are a few pointers on what to consider:

Plug-in Car Grant

Since 2011, the government has launched the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) which puts money towards any new purchase of a zero-emissions vehicle. This is a cash incentive and as of March 2020, anyone purchasing a zero-emissions electric vehicle can receive a grant of £3,000 or 35% of the vehicle’s market value, whichever is lower.

According to Viessmann, “the PiCG scheme is designed to help cut the UK’s CO2 emissions and has so far helped over 200,000 people purchase an electric vehicle.”

Running Costs

While the average upfront cost of an electric car is higher than that of a petrol or diesel car, it is good to note that the running costs of an electric vehicle are much lower.

Electric cars don’t require any petrol to run, instead they run solely on electricity. You can charge an EV at the comfort of your own home and at a much lower cost. For example, if you charged your car at home using the off-peak power, it would cost you as little as £3-£4 for a full charge. Additionally, EVs are exempt from road tax and most congestion zone charges as well.

Charging type

One important thing to be aware of with EVs is the charging connector type and speed. Depending on your EV, you may need to choose connector types that are suitable for your car.

EVs either have a Type 1 or Type 2 socket for slow/fast charge; and for rapid charging they may vary between CHAdeMO or CCS sockets (with the exception of Tesla Model X and Model S).

You may need to purchase an adaptor in order for you to charge at certain public charging stations.

Battery size and range

The battery size would directly determine the range that your car is able to drive once fully charged. The battery size is determined by a unit – kilowatt hour (kWh). The higher the kWh, the longer the range of your EV can drive at full charge.

To give you an idea of the battery sizes:

  • Small-sized battery – 12 – 18 kWh
  • Medium-sized battery – 22 – 32 kWh
  • Large-sized battery – 60-100 kWh

So there you have it! An in-depth analysis of the UK’s readiness for an EV revolution and what we can expect the government to work on for the next decade before the ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans sales comes into force, as well as a brief overview of what to consider when looking for an EV.

What do you make of it all, and how ready do you think your region is when it comes to plug-in vehicles? Let us know by getting in touch on social media using the hashtag #EVLeague.