The Great British Green Getaway: Brighton tops the charts for eco-powered road trips

Wednesday 26th May 2021

      • South of England leads the way for electric vehicle (EV) friendly holiday hotspots as the summer of staycations begins
      • Seaside town Brighton offers the most eco-friendly getaway this summer, boasting 170 EV chargers - the highest number of electric charging points of UK holiday destinations*
      • University city, Oxford and Scotland’s compact, hilly city, Edinburgh take second and third spot with 133 and 100 charging points respectively
      • North of England falls behind, with popular coastal hotspots, Blackpool and Whitley Bay home to just 15 and 5 charging points respectively, presenting challenges for green motorists seeking a traditional seaside holiday in the North

26 May 2021: Electric vehicle owners looking for a sustainable staycation this bank holiday weekend will be fully charged in Brighton, according to new data analysis from Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions and Zap-Map, the UK’s leading app and platform for EV drivers.

The eco-friendly seaside town, which welcomes over 11 million visitors every year, is poised to welcome families driving the electric vehicle revolution this summer with 170 electric vehicle charging points dotted around the town.[1] Visitors can re-charge their EVs alongside Brighton beach, Brighton’s iconic Lanes, or while visiting the town’s famous Royal Pavilion.

With the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles rapidly approaching, holiday hotspots nationwide are adapting to a greener future. The analysis of 20 of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations found that the picturesque university city of Oxford ranks second as the most EV-friendly city break. Set to become the first place in the UK to have a Zero Emissions Zone (ZEZ) later this year, Oxford is well-placed to welcome the arrival of green tourists.

Jon Lawes, Managing Director of Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, commented:

“With staycations set to boom this summer it’s encouraging to see the progress in the number of charging devices available at some of our most popular holiday destinations, such as Brighton and Oxford.  However, there are stark differences in EV charging provision across the UK, with many picture-postcard locations receiving the largest influx of tourists every year underserved to meet an ever-increasing demand.

“Electric vehicles are the fastest growing sector of the car market so it is vital that charging infrastructure is created at all holiday hotspots to remove the uncertainty drivers can feel in planning longer distance journeys, despite the ever-improving range delivered by EV’s.”

Electric vehicle sales make up the fastest growing segment of the UK car market, recently passing the milestone of 500,000 registrations on UK roads.[2] Historic cities lead the charge, with Edinburgh, York and Cambridge making up the remainder of the top five for sustainable charging infrastructure.

However, the data revealed a disparity between the south of England and the rest of the UK.  Seven out of the top ten EV-friendly staycation hotspots* are in Southern England – only York (4th), Belfast (6th) and Edinburgh (3rd) appear in the rankings, with other areas falling behind. Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh are also the only destinations surveyed to have ultra-rapid charging devices available. According to data from Zap-Map, almost 45% of the UK’s chargers are found in London and the South East, with just 6% in the North West and 5% in Yorkshire and the Humber.[3] The picture changes when looking at chargers per head of population, which puts Scotland at the top for total chargers and rapid chargers.

Visitors to the iconic Blackpool Pleasure Beach would struggle to find a spot to charge their EV, with just 15 chargers to meet the demands of residents and tourists alike. Only 2 of these are rapid chargers, meaning it could take up to 8 hours to complete a full recharge. Similarly, Skegness has just 18 electric charging points despite being the fourth most popular tourist resort in the UK, whilst Whitley Bay has 5 to meet the demands of North Tyneside’s 6 million visitors alongside its permanent residents.[4][5]

Melanie Shufflebotham, Co-Founder and COO at Zap-Map, commented:

“Whilst our data shows positive growth in electric vehicle chargers in most areas of the UK, holiday destinations need to ensure they are set up for the next generation of tourists. Most holidaymakers will charge on-route to the destination at the network of rapid chargers across the UK, however a top-up charge overnight is also useful. With less than 10 years until the government’s ban on petrol and diesel engines, now is the time to invest in charging infrastructure to ensure we can meet future demand.”

Case Study

Mike Hodgetts from Worcester travelled to North Yorkshire in a Volkswagen E-Golf to visit relatives last summer and experienced just this challenge. Whilst he was able to use Zap-Map to plan his route there, he struggled to find charging points in the area where they were staying. Unpredictable weather also meant he needed unexpected additional charge, making convenient and accessible charging points more important than ever.

Mike commented: “I’d only used my electric car for local trips previously and was excited to take it on a longer journey. We spent a lot of time planning where we could charge and mapped out the best route before setting off. While this was the case, it was difficult to find convenient charging locations close to places the family wanted to visit, meaning I spent a lot of time worrying about having enough power to get us around.

“Bad weather made this even worse, as we used up more power than expected keeping the headlights and windscreen wipers on while driving. This really affected my confidence about taking the car out and I would definitely consider locations with better availability of EV chargers in future – drivers need more convenient options to be able to make green decisions when it comes to their car.”

Top 5 UK destinations for green road trips:

1. Brighton

    • Number of charging points: 170
    • Destination chargers:
      • Queen’s Park (5)
      • Brighton Pier (6)
      • Brighton Marina (4)

2. Oxford

    • Number of charging points: 133
    • Destination chargers:
      • Oxford Castle (1)
      • Blenheim Palace (1)
      • Historic suburb Jericho (14)

3. Edinburgh

    • Number of charging points: 100
    • Destination chargers:
      • Edinburgh Old Town (5)
      • The National Gallery of Scotland (1)
      • Holyrood Park (3)

4. York

    • Number of charging points: 94
    • Destination chargers:
      • York Castle Museum (3)
      • York City Walls (3)
      • York Racecourse (1)

5. Cambridge

    • Number of charging points: 72
    • Destination chargers:
      • Downing College (3)
      • Milton Country Park (5)
      • Churchill College (2)

                                                                                                                                                - ENDS -

Note to editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Zap-Map. Research was undertaken between 29th April – 10th May 2021.

*20 popular UK holiday destinations were surveyed as part of this research (noted in the table below). The top five locations for charge points have seen a 50% increase in searches in the past 3 months according to Google Trends.

Ranking

Location

Device Count

1st

Brighton

170

2nd

Oxford

133

3rd

Edinburgh

100

4th

York

94

5th

Cambridge

72

6th

Belfast

57

7th

Canterbury

49

8th

Bath

46

9th

Isle of Wight

41

10th

Bournemouth

30

11th

Windermere

25

12th

Great Yarmouth

20

13th

Skegness

18

14th

Blackpool

15

15th

Isle Of Skye

14

16th

Bakewell

13

17th

Tenby

10

18th

St Ives

6

19th

Whitley Bay

5

20th

Abersoch

2

[1] https://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2019/11/23/tourism-numbers-boom-as-brighton-and-hove-bucks-the-trend/

[2] https://www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/statistics/

[3] https://www.zap-map.com/statistics/

[4] https://www.skegness.gov.uk/uploads/1129li5041-1pceconomic-reviewv3-final.pdf

[5] https://www.visitnorthtyneside.com/tourism-statistics/