Top 10 European cities for air quality/EV uptake revealed

Electric Vehicles, Energy & Efficiency, News
Oslo (pictured above) tops the list for European city with the best air quality

New research has found that five UK cities have made it into the top ten list for the best electric vehicle uptake and air quality in Europe. 

The study, by Vanarama, revealed whether EV uptake has improved air quality in European cities.

Vanarama analysed the 50 most populated European cities, sourcing data on total passenger cars and the proportion of electric vehicles (EVs) to calculate the number of EVs per 100,000 of each city’s population.

These figures were then scored alongside air quality stats to give a score out of 100. The higher the score, the stronger the correlation between the uptake of electric cars and air quality.


Rank City Country Number of EVs per 100,000 of population Air quality (PM2.5 concentration μg/m3) Score
1 Oslo Norway 11,129 7.5 96
2 Gothenburg Sweden 2,922 5.9 95
3 Glasgow United Kingdom 1,676 5.6 94
4 Stockholm Sweden 3,001 6 94
5 Dublin Ireland  1,714 7.8 90
6 Birmingham United Kingdom 1,676 7.9 88
7 Nottingham United Kingdom 1,676 8.3 87
8 Sheffield United Kingdom 1,676 9 85
9 Rotterdam Netherlands 3,209 9.9 84
10 Bristol United Kingdom 1,676 9.7 83

Glasgow, sharing 3rd place with Stockholm, has a score of 94, with British cities Birmingham (88), Nottingham (87), and Sheffield (85) following closely behind. Interestingly, Glasgow had the lowest air pollution out of all 50 cities with 5.6μg/m3.

In 2017, the World Health Organisation reported that Glasgow was more polluted than London. However following the introduction of the Low Emission Zone the following year, air quality improved. This only applied to local bus services, so when it is rolled out to all vehicles in 2023, there is expected to be an even bigger improvement in air quality.

The UK is experiencing a growing adoption of EVs, with March this year showing the highest volume of electric registrations ever recorded in one month – an increase of 79% from the previous year.

However, in terms of air pollution, the UK in general is failing to meet legal limits of nitrogen dioxide pollution, largely generated by vehicles, in other cities and areas. According to research, London is 1.9 times over the legal limit for air pollution, followed by South Wales and Eastern England. One of the main reasons for this is increasing levels of private car ownership and traditional vehicles.

Chris Price
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