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Where are electric cars most popular? The top UK EV locations revealed

Over one million vehicles have been registered since the start of the year, but which areas are leading the EV charge and what are the most popular models of electric car?

Electric Vauxhall Astra being charged via on-street charging

The UK car market is currently seeing its best performance since 2021. Over one million new cars in total have now been registered in the first half of 2024, with electric cars making up a significant portion of these sales. But where in the UK is this demand coming from?

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Demand for electric cars and SUVs has been increasing year-on-year, with over 167,000 battery electric vehicles registered in the first half of 2024. As it stands, electrified vehicles total 16.6 per cent of the market, up 0.5 per cent compared to the first half of 2023, although the majority of these sales come from fleet and business customers.

To better understand the general demand and uptake of electric vehicles among private buyers, data analysis from CAP HPI has identified the UK hotspots where electric vehicles are most popular.

Where electric vehicles are most popular in the UK

According to the data from CAP HPI, Reading was identified as the top location in the UK for privately registered battery electric vehicles, with a total of 8,697. 

Coming in second place was Guildford with 8,379 EVs registered, followed by Birmingham, London and Edinburgh with 8,067, 7,143 and 6,968 private registrations respectively. The data excludes fleet registrations to help get a view of private buyers' habits.

Area:Total number of registrations for H1 2024:
Reading8,697
Guildford8,379
Birmingham8,067
London7,143
Edinburgh6,968

What are the most popular electric cars?

Alongside the leading locations for private electric car registrations, CAP HPI also identified the top ten most popular electric cars registered in the UK:

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  1. Nissan Leaf - 39,421 
  2. Tesla Model 3 - 39,263
  3. Renault Zoe - 20,784 
  4. Tesla Model Y - 18,720
  5. Kia Niro EV - 17,461
  6. Volkswagen ID3 - 15,789
  7. MG ZS - 13,916
  8. MINI Hatch - 13,529
  9. Jaguar I-Pace - 13,123
  10. BMW i3 - 12,859

New car registrations don’t show the full picture

There’s clearly a demand for electric vehicles but the majority of registrations are being driven by the fleet and leasing sector. Despite the increase in EV market share compared to 2023, the number of private buyers opting for an electric vehicle has waned since the previous Conservative government announced last year that it was pushing back the UK’s sales ban of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035.

With 16.6 per cent of new car registrations being fully electric, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) estimates that overall sales of EVs are likely to be below the mandated 22 per cent dictated by the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate at the end of 2024. However, overall demand for electric cars in the private sector is much stronger than the figures would suggest.

According to the SMMT, demand for used electric cars in the first quarter of 2024 rose by more than 70 per cent in comparison to the first three months of 2023. As a result, 41,505 used electric cars entered the used car market in Q1, making it the fastest growing sector of the used car market. The fleet and leasing sectors that have been driving new EV sales are starting to deliver used models onto the market in good numbers, bringing prices down to more affordable levels. 

Overall electric car chargepoint availability has also increased by 46 per cent between June 2023 and 2024, with a total of 33,829 charging locations across the UK according to ZapMap, helping increase confidence for prospective electric car buyers. 

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