Which UK police forces have the most electric vehicles?

Research from EV Powered has found that the majority of police forces up and down the country have introduced electric vehicles to their fleets.

It is fair to say that the UK is one of the leading global forces when it comes to the transition to electric vehicles. Government targets and ambitions, the rollout of infrastructure and EV sales are all ahead of the curve.

With the country set on moving over to electric, the majority of police forces up and down the country have also been working in line with the government’s targets and have introduced EVs into their fleets.

Whilst some forces have led the way and set their own targets for electrification, such as the Metropolitan Police’s target to have a 100% electric fleet by 2030, other constabularies have yet to purchase a single electric vehicle.

With that in mind, EV Powered sought to find out which forces have embraced the electric revolution, and which forces are stuck in the dark ages.

Our investigators submitted Freedom of Information Requests to each of the 39 police constabularies within the UK to find out how may battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were in each fleet, how much money had been spent on the vehicles and how each EV is used on a day-to-day basis.

The requests also asked each constabulary to declare any plans to increase their number of EVs in the future.

From the 39 forces that EV Powered requested information from, only four failed to respond within the 20-day deadline and subsequent reminders. Those constabularies were: Avon & Somerset Constabulary; Greater Manchester Police; Nottinghamshire Police; and Thames Valley Police.

Total number of EVs

The Metropolitan Police Service, the UKs largest constabulary with over 39,000 serving police officers, leads the way in the number of battery electric vehicles, with 135 BEVs currently in operation.

In second place was Gloucestershire Police, with 89 battery electric vehicles. In February, Gloucestershire Police introduced 75 new fully electric vehicles to its fleet, giving it a larger percentage of fully electric vehicles in its fleet than any other force in the UK.

However, whilst the Metropolitan Police Service has the most battery electric vehicles in its fleet, Gloucestershire has spent more on BEVs, with a total of £1,910,628.95, which includes cost to purchase, spend on conversion and year to date maintenance costs. In contrast, the Met has only spent £958,938.

Elsewhere, Surrey and Sussex Police came in third place with 33 EVs, ahead of West Midlands Police with 32, and Dorset Police with 26.

Hampshire Constabulary, Lincolnshire Police, South Yorkshire Police and Wiltshire Police were the other constabularies with over ten battery electric vehicles in their fleets.

Naturally, Dorset Police and Merseyside Police were the other big spenders, having splashed £444,386 and £180,000 (approx.) on EVs respectively.

Shockingly, ten police forces in the United Kingdom have failed to purchase a single battery electric vehicle so far.

The largest police forces in the UK without a single battery electric vehicle are Essex Police, Leicestershire Police, Humberside Police and Staffordshire Police.

The other constabularies without an electric vehicle are: Cambridgeshire Constabulary; Cleveland Police; Durham Constabulary; Lancashire Constabulary; North Yorkshire Police; Northamptonshire Police; and Warwickshire Police.

Most popular police EV

 EV Powered’s research revealed that the BMW i3 is the most common police electric vehicle to date.

The BMW is used by 11 of the 39 police forces, with the other most common electric vehicles proving to be the Nissan Leaf, the Nissan ENV200 van and the Hyundai Kona Electric.

Other models included the Kia eNiro, the Hyundai Ioniq, Peugeot 208e, Seat Mii and the Tesla Model 3.

A number of other electric vehicle models have also been considered as police vehicles in recent months.

In September, Ford developed a specially built ‘blue light’ version of its fully electric Mustang Mach E to provide a greener solution to emergency services.

The Metropolitan Police Force has already appraised the standard Mustang Mach-E and has now requested a full evaluation of the marked concept. Also waiting for an opportunity to try the new 999 vehicle are the Sussex, Surrey, South Wales, Dyfed Powys, Devon & Cornwall and Police Scotland forces.

The Tesla Model 3 was also transformed into a police car earlier this year, too. In June, the Model 3 was tested by the police, fire brigade and other emergency services in the UK as part of a trial for the Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ initiative.

Purpose of EVs

Out of all the forces that responded to the FOI request, only Devon & Cornwall Police used their electric Hyundai Kona’s for pursuits.

Similarly, Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies revealed that their BMW i3’s are used for response, but not for response duties.

In terms of the purposes for each electric vehicle across all the forces, the most common use was ‘general purpose’.

The second most common use for the EVs was to use them as Pool vehicles, which are vehicles available for work purposes to more than one driver, and not used for any significant private activity.

Other purposes for the EVs were for beat patrols, safer neighbourhood teams and admin duties. Interestingly, Norfolk Constabulary was the only force in the country to use electric vehicles for driver training.

Plans for electric vehicles

Amongst the forces which have yet to purchase a battery electric police vehicle, Humberside, Essex, North Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire all confirmed plans to add BEVs to their fleets in the near future.

In fact, Staffordshire Police revealed it is trialling two electric vehicles this financial year, and Essex Police said it plans to “focus on unmarked vehicles were range and payload are not such significant factors” and “plans to replace the unmarked fleet in parallel with investment in on site charging facilities.”

However, Cambridgeshire Police, which currently has zero BEVs in its fleet, said it has no plans whatsoever to purchase any electric vehicles. Cleveland, Lancashire and Northamptonshire failed to respond to that section of the request.

Across the board, 21 of the 39 constabularies said they had plans to increase the number of electric vehicles, with Cambridge, Surrey, Sussex and Gloucestershire being the only forces without plans to add BEVs to their fleets.

Charlie Atkinson, senior reporter at EV Powered, said: “This research has been eye-opening, and it is great to learn that the majority of police forces up and down the country have embraced the electric revolution and have introduced electric vehicles into their fleets.

“Whilst it is disappointing to learn that a number of forces have yet to purchase an EV, it is encouraging that electric vehicles are in their plans for the future, and they are right to do so. The UK, and indeed the world, is moving towards an electric future at pace and it is so important that our emergency services are keeping up with the times.”