The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing rapidly, with more than 142,200 fully electric cars on the roads at the end of August 2020.
With interest in EVs greatly increasing, and the government’s deadline to ban all petrol and diesel vehicle sales set for 2035, we wanted to get a grasp of customers’ attitudes towards owning and driving EVs.
We conducted a survey of more than 2,000 UK drivers to find out how many motorists have driven, or owned, an EV.
How many motorists have driven an EV?
Our research suggests that most drivers have never owned or driven an EV.
90% of those responding to the survey said they had never owned an EV, with 76% saying they have never driven one.
With these statistics in mind, it’s obvious that the UK still has a way to go before EV ownership can be considered mainstream.
The interest in electric vehicles is clearly visible, so what is stopping Britain’s drivers from adopting EVs in larger numbers?
Here are three potential reasons:
Lack of charging infrastructure
Charging infrastructure availability varies according to location, but access to charging stations could be a major issue for those considering buying an EV. Not everyone will have the ability to charge at home or work, so having more access is essential for many motorists wanting to buy an EV.
Another problem related to the potential lack of charging infrastructure is ‘range anxiety’. This term has been used to describe the concern drivers have that their EV is going to run out of charge before the motorist has reached a charging point on the road.
At present, there are 34,241 public charging connectors in the UK. In addition to these, the government is providing grants to make owning an EV more affordable. The grants are expected to offset the costs of installing a charging station at home, on the street or at work.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has provided £20 million worth of funds for on-street residential charging infrastructure projects in 2020/21. This figure covers 75% of the cost of procuring and installing electric charging points with a dedicated parking space (where it’s possible to have one).
Concern over charging speed
Another challenge faced by motorists considering the purchase of an EV is the time it takes to charge one.
Our research highlighted some misconceptions surrounding EV charging times.
A quarter of those surveyed said it would need to take an hour to fully charge an EV if they were to consider buying one, and 23% said it would need to take 30 minutes to recharge their vehicle if they were to think about owning an EV.
The truth is, there’s no definitive answer to the question of how long it takes to charge an EV. A typical 60kWh battery EV would take a little under 8 hours to fully recharge with a 7kW charging point. However, charging times completely depend on the speed of the charging point and the size of the vehicle’s battery. Some may take just 30 minutes, whereas others could take up to 12 hours to restore the battery to full capacity.
That said, it is worth noting that charging times are getting shorter thanks to improvements in technology. Some EVs can even add hundreds of miles in as little as 20 minutes!
The initial cost of EVs
EVs tend to be more expensive to buy than petrol or diesel vehicles, a factor that can put buyers off.
However, disregarding the initial cost, EVs tend to have a lower cost to run. They usually require less maintenance and can work for a long time without routine upkeep. In addition, electricity is cheaper than petrol, so it costs less per mile to drive an EV compared to petrol or diesel motors.
Experts believe that price parity between EV and ICE vehicles could occur as soon as 2024.
Are these concerns based on misconceptions?
The above reasons could be playing a part in drivers’ reluctance to buy EVs at this stage. However, when we consider the small percentage of motorists who have driven or owned an EV personally, it could be that many potential customers lack first-hand experience, meaning they don’t have full knowledge of cost, range or charging speed.
It will take a concerted effort from so many organisations including the Government, media, local councils, environmentalists and companies like AX. As part of AX’s drive to support the transition from ICE to EV, AX has developed a product allowing ICE drivers the option of driving an EV rental vehicle whilst their vehicle is being repaired.
Download our whitepaper
Last year, we conducted a survey of more than 2,200 UK drivers to determine what Britain’s motorists really think about EV ownership and adoption. Download the full report to find out what consumers see as the biggest advantages and disadvantages are, the most common misconceptions around EVs and more.