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The Orkney Islands are the UK’s second biggest adopters of battery electric vehicles, with the remote Scottish location beating the wealthiest boroughs in Londond in ownership rates, according to research by AA Car Finance.

Orcadians had 235 EVs at the end of 2022, giving them 16.2 electric vehicles per 1,000 motorists. The Orkney Islands is the only place in the top ten outside of the London boroughs and the Home Counties. Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, at number 17, is the only other place in the top 20 that is not in the South East.

The Orkney Islands have 51 charging points for its 22,500 population – equal to 226 per 100,000 people. By comparison, Harrow in north-west London has 62 connection sites for its 250,000 residents, or 23.8 per 100,000 people.

Elmbridge, Surrey, has the highest rate of EV ownership in the UK, with 16.9 EVs per thousand drivers, followed by the Orkney Islands, and Waverley, Surrey, in third place.

At the other end of the scale, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, has only 203 EVs for a motoring population of around 178,000, giving it 1.1 EVs per 1,000 drivers.

Sandwell, West Midlands, and Blaenau Gwent in Wales, are second and third respectively for the lowest EV rate, with both having 1.5 EVs per 1,000 motorists.

Oldham in Greater Manchester has seen the most dramatic rise in EV ownership rates in the last year, with the proportion of motorists owning one nearly doubling from 1.6 at the end of 2021 to 3 by the close of 2022.

More than 333 local authorities across the UK have seen ownership rates shoot up by more than 50% in the past year.

AA Car Finance director Mark Attwell, commented: “Up and down the country, drivers are embracing the EV revolution, with the Orkney Islands leading the charge.

“The availability of charging points may be behind the remote Scottish islands’ success, with the Orkney Islands enjoying 10 times more chargers per person than parts of London.

“EVs have generally been adopted first by more affluent areas, but affordability is improving as more models enter the market.

“While London and the South East dominate current ownership tables, it’s reassuring to see that the fastest-growing areas are evenly spread from north to south.”