EV Charging in Historic Cities: Navigating Challenges and Solutions

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Editorial


Just like any transitional period with modern technology, there are a set of challenges that can be found along the way. This is no exception to EV charging. The rapid proliferation of electric vehicles (EVs) is undoubtedly a pivotal step toward a more sustainable future, particularly in historic cities across the UK, where centuries-old architecture coexists with modern needs. As the demand for EVs continues to surge, it becomes crucial to address the complexities of implementing EV charging infrastructure in these unique urban landscapes.


In this blog, we’ll delve into the challenges posed by historic cities in the UK and explore innovative solutions aimed at making EV charging more accessible, sustainable, and harmonious with the historical context.


Challenges in Historic Cities


Preservation of Heritage:

Historic cities boast an architectural charm that draws tourists and residents alike. Preserving the aesthetic appeal of these cities is a priority, which often leads to resistance against any visual changes in these areas, including visible charging infrastructure like charging stations and cables.


Limited Space:

Many historic cities around the UK are known to have narrow streets and limited space for parking and utilities. Finding room for EV charging stations can be a significant challenge, especially in areas where space is already at a premium.


Age of Infrastructure:

The age of buildings and utilities in historic locations can make the installation of EV charging infrastructure more complex. Outdated electrical systems may require upgrades to support high-speed charging, and historical regulations might complicate these upgrades.


Heritage Protection Laws:

The UK is known for its strict heritage protection laws, which can significantly influence the design, location, and materials used for EV charging installations. These laws aim to preserve the historical character of cities, making it difficult to integrate modern technology seamlessly.


Tourism and Traffic:

Historic locations are often a big drawing point for tourist in the UK, making managing traffic flow a constant challenge. So when doing the installation of EV charging stations it is important to ensure the charging stations don’t increase congestion or inconvenience visitors. To learn more about public charging check out our guide here.


Innovative Solutions

Hidden Charging Infrastructure:

To maintain the aesthetic appeal of historic cities, the best solution for EV charging is to consider hidden or underground charging solutions. For instance, companies like Urban Electric Networks have developed pop-up chargers that rise from the ground when needed, offering a discreet and unobtrusive option.


Smart Charging Systems:

Implementing smart charging systems can optimize the use of limited charging infrastructure. These systems can prioritize EVs with low battery levels, manage charging times to reduce peak demand, and even reserve charging spots in advance, reducing congestion in the area.


Power Integration:

Collaborating with utility companies to upgrade the electrical grid in historic areas can enable the seamless installation of EV charging infrastructure. By integrating new systems with existing ones, historical character can be preserved while still meeting its modern needs.


Architectural Harmony:

Designing charging stations and their surroundings to blend seamlessly with the historic architecture is essential. This might involve using materials that mimic traditional building materials or adopting architectural styles that complement the surroundings.


Tourism-Friendly Charging:

To cater to tourists, you should provide charging infrastructure near popular attractions and landmarks. This not only makes charging convenient for visitors but also showcases the city’s commitment to sustainability to the general public.


Public-Private Partnerships:

Collaborations between public and private businesses can help fund and implement charging infrastructure in historic cities. Private companies may be more willing to invest if they see a clear return on their investment (ROI).


Community Engagement:

Involve the community in the decision-making process. Seek input from residents, business owners, and heritage preservation organizations to find solutions that are acceptable to all stakeholders. To learn more about how EV can benefit neighbourhoods check out our blog here.




EV charging infrastructure in historic cities in the UK presents unique challenges, but it’s a vital component of the transition to sustainable transportation. By embracing innovative solutions, engaging the community, and carefully considering historical preservation, these cities can strike a balance between the past and the future. As more cities adapt to the EV revolution, the lessons learned from historic cities will undoubtedly pave the way for sustainable urban mobility across the UK and beyond. If you’re ready to get started on your EV charge point journey let us know.