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As the government’s deadline to cease the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 is getting closer, the idea of EVs being used for short-term hire is more than likely to become a possibility. 

But would drivers accept an EV as a temporary replacement vehicle if their petrol or diesel motor was in for repair?

To answer this question and others, we surveyed more than 2,200 UK motorists who had used credit hire services from AX in the past. We asked whether, if they were to use our services again, they would consider an EV as a temporary replacement, rather than a car with the same engine as their own.

66% of respondents said they would accept an EV as a temporary replacement, suggesting that drivers are keen to try out driving an EV, even if they’re not ready to buy one just yet. 

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Why aren't drivers ready to buy EVs yet?

Generally speaking, only a small minority of UK motorists currently have hands-on experience with EVs. Our research revealed that 90% of drivers have never owned an EV, and 76% have never driven one. 

Although just one in 50 UK drivers have driven or owned an EV, one in 10 have at least had first-hand experience in one. However, there appears to be some reluctance when it comes to embracing electric vehicles as an everyday mode of transport. 

There are several reasons why motorists might not feel ready to buy an EV. These include:

High initial cost 

EVs tend to be more expensive to purchase than petrol or diesel vehicles. This can be off-putting to potential buyers.

However, though cost is a big factor when it comes to buying a car, it is worth considering that EVs can work out cheaper to own than ICEs. They generally require less maintenance and can run for a long period without needing any routine upkeep. Electricity also costs less than petrol, so it costs less per mile to drive an EV. 

Lack of charging points 

Access to public charging stations is a major concern for many motorists considering buying an EV. 

The number of charging stations varies depending on location, but those who don’t have access to home or work charging may be concerned that they will run out of charge mid-journey, with no way of recharging when it happens. 

However, access to charging is improving all the time, and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has allocated £20 million worth of funding for on-street residential projects in 2020/21. This covers 75% of the cost for procuring and installing charging stations with a dedicated parking space where possible. 

Charging speed 

Another concern for drivers considering an EV is that they take too long to charge. However, charging times are getting shorter as technology advances. 

Charging speeds vary greatly depending on the charger being used and the size of the car’s battery. But thanks to fast-charging technologies, some EVs can add hundreds of miles in less than half an hour. 

Find out more about electric vehicles and the opportunities for dealers, fleets  and insurers 

Why dealerships should offer EVs as a replacement vehicle 

Though most motorists are clearly still on the fence about embracing EVs as their primary means of transportation, our survey shows many are eager to gain more hands-on experience and have their practical concerns about EVs challenged. 

Providing EVs as a replacement vehicle could contribute to lifetime customer value in a number of ways for dealerships. 

By offering the option to use them as a replacement vehicle when the driver’s original vehicle is in repair, you can provide the chance for them to see what driving an EV is really like. 

This might help to alleviate drivers’ concerns over issues such as shortage of range and charging speed, and potentially encourage them to buy an EV when the time comes to purchase a new vehicle. 

What’s more, offering EVs as a replacement vehicle provides exceptional customer service. They’ll get to drive a brand-new vehicle whilst theirs is in for repair, which in turn could transform a potentially stressful situation into something novel and exciting. 

Another reason to consider offering EVs as a replacement vehicle is that it will help you to establish your own credentials when it comes to EVs. The driver will remember having the opportunity to drive a replacement EV if they do decide to buy in the future, which means your business will be at the forefront of their mind when it comes to decision-making. 


Download the full report

Want to get more insights into driver attitudes surrounding electric vehicle adoption? Download our guide to read about what motorists like and dislike about EVs, common misconceptions and much more!