Research Shows UK Universities Own 7073% More Electric Vehicles Than the UK Average

Nissan Lead on Display at Event
CC Licence | Tom Raftery.

Recent research conducted by Intelligent Car Leasing gives a full picture of the levels of electric vehicle ownership in universities across the UK.

By sending freedom of information requests to the UK’s leading universities ICL asked the following questions:

  1. How many electric vehicles (purely electric not hybrid or plug-in hybrid) does the university own? And what are the makes + models of these vehicles?
  2. What percentage of the university’s overall owned fleet of vehicles is made up of those powered purely by electricity?

Out of 116 Universities surveyed 98.3% responded giving a very reliable data set to work off and draw conclusions from. The study identifies that Universities across the UK own a much higher percentage of vehicles powered purely by electricity than the UK average, which EVs are popular amongst academic fleet managers and which universities have the highest % of electric vehicles.

The Findings

EVs as a Percentage of Fleets
The most notable headline finding is that universities are using a much higher % of electric vehicles than the general populous. Something which is actively reflected in the car lease market as well.

In the UK only 0.11% of registered vehicles are of purely electric powered [1] [2]. However when comparing with UK university fleets they are absolutely smashing that figure with an average of 7.78% of their owned vehicles being powered by electricity across all institutions.

That’s a whopping difference of 7073% making UK universities much more inclined to purchase and use electric vehicles in their operations.

Most Popular EVS
Out of all universities surveyed the total number of electric vehicles provided was 264. Drilling a little further down into this data we can easily see which electric vehicles are being employed most frequently by private academic institutions.

Top 5 Total Qty
1. Aixam Mega Van 30
2. Renault Kangoo 29
3. Goupil G3 20
4. Nissan Leaf 15
5. E-Z GO Buggy 15

Highest/Lowest % EV University Fleets

Looking at the % of a university’s total vehicles that are electric is the fairest way of comparing institutions. Each University has a different fleet size and therefore simply listing the number of EVs would prove misleading statistics.

Below you can see the top 20 universities from highest to lowest for electric vehicles as a % of their overall fleet (you can download full results from the link at the bottom of this article).

Institution EV Percentage of Fleet
1. Bucks New University 66%
2. Edge Hill University 50%
3. The University of East London 45.50%
4. The University of Bedfordshire 33%
5. Royal Holloway, University of London 33%
6. The University of Sunderland 27.78%
7. The University of Kent 26%
8. The University of Dundee 25%
9. The University of Greenwich 25%
10. Leeds Trinity University 25%
11. Queen Mary, University of London 25%
12. The University of East Anglia 23%
13. Brunel University 22%
14. Birkbeck, University of London 20%
15. The University of Sussex 20%
16. The University of Teesside 20%
17. The University of York 17%
18. Bath Spa University 16%
19. Heriot-Watt University 15.60%
20. The University of Worcester 15%

Implications of Findings

A lot of people assume that electric cars are environmentally cleaner than those directly powered by refined fossil fuels (petrol and diesel). This is something that will hopefully be universally true in the UK in the near future, but we’re not quite there yet.

In the UK a lot of electricity is generated by coal power stations, a relatively carbon negative way to produce power. However there are much cleaner sources of electricity production already in place and growing rapidly across Britain such as wind and solar. Once these electricity sources become a larger part of our energy production mix electric cars and vehicles will be definite winners in terms of real CO2 savings. Consequently universities who have incorporated electric vehicles into their fleet in a big way will automatically be in a position where their carbon footprint is reduced.

See this world table (2009) of CO2 g/km per country. The UK’s carbon footprint should have improved slightly since then but it gives you a good general picture.

table showing the emissions in CO2 attributed to Electric Vehicles Across the World

Those who invest in an electric car today are still “early adopters” in a long product life cycle. But it is a positive step in building the infrastructure which should be in place to support the UK’s growing “green” electricity production sector and make us a cleaner country overall.

Full results and Data

For access to the full responses and filtered data used for this report you can download an excel file here.

We kindly ask that you attribute intelligentcarleasing.com when referencing or redistributing the results of this study in any way.


Notes: 0.11% of all 2013 registered vehicles calculated by 2512 / 2,264,737 (sources cited above).


This entry was posted in Reports & Research on by Pete McAllister

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