Huge New Study Compares Every UK Council’s Electric Vehicle Usage.

Intelligent Car Leasing has recently undertaken the single biggest study to date looking at local council’s adoption of electric vehicles all across the UK.

The results reveal some unexpected trends, and also given an eye-opening view of how local authorities are approaching this fast rising form of zero-emission transportation in a world where car leasing is constantly changing.


The Process

In the last quarter of 2014 a whopping 433 local authorities were surveyed via freedom of information requests, asking the following question:

“Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I seek the following information: The number of road legal electric powered vehicles the council currently owns, manages or leases.”

We also supplied the following notes to ensure there wasn’t any confusion as to what criteria the request fell under:

  • ‘electric powered’ refers to vehicles which purely run on an electric battery (not hybrid cars which combine a battery with a combustion engine).
  • ‘road legal’ refers to cars which are registered to drive on public roads not vehicles such as golf buggies which are only legal for use on private land.

The Results

It was a huge job to filter and sort so many responses; especially seen as how there is no standard format in which freedom of information replies have to be supplied in. However after a lot of trawling, copying, pasting and sorting we finally go there!

Chances are you’re only really interested in 2 things when looking at the results of this research, and these are:

A. Which councils have the most electric vehicles in the UK.
B. How many electric vehicles your own local local council has.

First off, here are the top 10 highest electric vehicle adopters amongst all 433 councils surveyed:

Council Total # of EVs
1. Dundee City Council 38
2. South Lanarkshire Council 24
3. City of Glasgow Council 22
4. London Borough of Islington 19
5. Fife Council 17
6. Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council 16
7. Newcastle upon Tyne City Council 16
8. Oxford City Council 14
9. North Lanarkshire Council 14
10. Lewes District Council 12

To find your local council’s response to our survey, type the authority’s name into to the search bar in the interactive database  below:

wpDataTable with provided ID not found!

Can’t find your local council when searching the database above? We’re still awaiting a reply from 20 authorities which are being chased up currently (details below):

Allerdale Borough Halton Borough
Angus Hinckley & Bosworth District
Ashford Borough Isle of Wight
Barrow-in-Furness Borough  Mid Devon District
Brighton and Hove City North Somerset
 Carrickfergus Borough Oadby & Wigston District
Christchurch Borough  Pembrokeshire
Cookstown District Vale of White Horse District
East Devon Warwickshire County
Fermanagh Waveney District

Click here to download a full spreadsheet of the current results (we’ll be updating it as more results come in from councils we’re chasing).

Key Facts

Out of the top 5 local authorities for highest number of electric vehicles 4 (80%) are in Scotland.
Scottish councils make up 80% of the top 4 for electric vehicles

Out of all councils which responded 34.15%, around one third, have at least 1 electric vehicle.
two petrol cars next to one electric car

Out of the 433 local authorities surveyed to date 412 (just over 95%) have responded. The remaining authorities are being communicated with for a response and this page will be updated accordingly over time.95 percent of council responded to FOI requests

Wider Implications

Looking at the EV adoption rate, with over one third of all councils in the UK having at least one electric vehicle, we think this is a very promising outlook. Electric vehicles are still expensive to obtain, even when taking into account government grants and incentives. Therefore many of the local authorities across the UK are presenting themselves as real early adopters; taking up this promising technology at an early stage in its life-cycle.

However electric vehicles are also likely to bring down insurance premiums for those who adopt them over time, according to broker One Sure Insurance. This is mostly due to statistics showing that electric vehicles have lower rates of theft and vandalism. Therefore the choice of many local councils to be early adopters in this space could provide long term savings in the near future.

If we are to compare the rate at which UK councils are taking on board electric vehicles it absolutely dwarfs the private sector. It’s almost impossible to imagine that if you were to survey all private sector companies in the UK, that 1 in 3 would have at least one electric vehicle in their fleet.

When mentioning electric vehicles you need to look at the wider picture however. Although they directly emit no CO2 there is still a carbon footprint from the production of electricity itself. In the UK there is a huge drive to increase renewable energy production (in Scotland there’s a target to make electricity production 100% renewable by 2020). This is making electricity a cleaner form of energy all the time; meaning in a few years from now the benefits of driving an electric powered vehicle will be huge for the environment.

What do you think of this research? Let us know if your local authority has adopted any electric vehicles yet in the comments section, or use our social media buttons below to share this page!

This entry was posted in Reports & Research on by Marc Murphy


  1. well done, public sector should be leading the way but clearly not government should be demanding all vehicles to be either hybrid or pure electric.
    We are just involved with OLEV to launch the electric taxi,cutting emissions,air quality ( £20m fund).

  2. Good seeing some councils taking on all electric cars , shame on Aberdeenshire council who have just sent the opposite message by refusing any electric taxis / private hire , speak about saying one thing about going green and all the environment jargon then putting the boot in when it really could have mattered .

  3. Local Authorities get EVs at a massive discount, and they work out the same or cheaper than their DERV equivalent, any authority not going EV route must have too much money.

    I’m really pleased to see Fife are “best of the rest” and I believe they are in the process of expanding further so should be knocking on a top 3 spot soon.

    The only hidden cost, and this could become a problem sooner rather than later is the upkeep of chargers. When they break it seems like forever before they get fixed.

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