Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming an ever more popular mode of everyday transport. They offer a variety of advantages to both individual drivers and businesses, but some drivers are also wary of the potential shortcomings of EVs.
To find out exactly what drivers think about electric vehicles, we conducted a survey of more than 2,000 UK drivers.
Our findings revealed what motorists perceived as the biggest benefits of driving an EV, as well as some of the disadvantages stopping them from purchasing one. Read on to find out what these are.
Perceived advantages about EVs
There are many advantages to driving an electric vehicle, a fact that was widely recognised during our survey. Here are some of the biggest positive factors identified by our participants:
Better for the environment
Arguably one of the biggest advantages of electric vehicles is that they are significantly better for the environment than petrol or diesel motors.
A massive 83% of drivers told us that they saw environmental friendliness as the biggest benefit to driving an EV, with 40% agreeing that zero emissions were a beneficial factor.
As the reduction of carbon emissions becomes a growing concern for many, it’s perhaps not so surprising that drivers are seeing the appeal of electric vehicles. EVs emit fewer greenhouse gases than petrol or diesel cars, even after considering vehicle production and electricity generation.
In fact, EVs can actually contribute towards improving air quality in cities and towns. As they have no tail pipe, fully electric vehicles don’t produce carbon emissions when they’re being driven, significantly reducing air pollution.
Lower fuel costs
The second biggest advantage identified by our respondents was lower fuel costs, with 70% saying this was an important factor when it comes to considering an electric vehicle.
Although purchase prices for EVs can be significantly higher than petrol or diesel vehicles at the moment, cost to run is generally lower. Charging an Electric Vehicle is 80% less expensive than filling your car with petrol or diesel, and EVs require less maintenance than ICEs.
There are also a number of incentives on offer, such as the government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, Vehicle Excise Duty discounts and exemptions from fuel duty. All of these factors mean that using an EV can reduce costs for drivers in comparison to petrol or diesel vehicles.
Perceived disadvantages of EVs
Although our survey respondents identified some important benefits to driving an EV, the study also highlighted some factors that could be putting drivers off purchasing one. These are:
Charging point availability and range anxiety
Our respondents said that charging point availability was the biggest disadvantage of EVs, followed by vehicle range and cost to purchase or lease.
Access to a charging station could prove to be a challenge for those considering buying an EV. Availability varies across the UK, but not everyone will be able to charge their vehicle at home or work.
The lack of charging points can cause a problem known as ‘range anxiety’. This term describes the worry motorists have that their EV is going to run out of charge whilst driving on the road, without any means of charging.
There are currently 34,720 public charging stations in Britain. As the number of charging stations grows larger in the UK, perhaps drivers will feel more confident in the ability to drive an EV without running out of charge during a journey.
In fact, 52% of the motorists we surveyed agreed that, though range is a cause for concern now, it is improving.
Another potential challenge faced by drivers thinking of buying an EV is the time taken to charge one.
However, our research revealed some misconceptions surrounding the amount of time it takes to charge an EV.
There’s no simple answer to the question of how long it takes on average to charge an EV. A typical 60kWh battery EV takes just under 8 hours to fully recharge (with a 7kW charging point). That said, charging times are totally dependent on the speed of the charger and the size of the vehicle’s battery. Some EVs charge in as little as half an hour, whereas others might take up to 12 hours.
A quarter of drivers said it would need to take one hour to fully charge an EV for them to consider buying one, whereas 23% said it would need to take 30 minutes. While not all EVs on the market will meet their criteria, this isn’t outside of the realms of possibility today.
It is also important to remember that, due to technological improvements, charging times are getting shorter. Some EVs can add hundreds of miles in as little as 20 minutes, so as these improvements continue, charging time could become less of a concern for drivers considering purchasing one.
The majority of EV drivers invest in a home charger to avoid any inconvenience or anxiety. They tend to charge their car, like they do their mobile phone. The car is placed on charge at night and therefore fully charged in the morning. One survey respondent quoted ‘it’s just making it part of your routine’.
Whilst it’s encouraging that drivers are recognising the advantages of driving EVs, there is still a way to go in terms of helping to ease concerns surrounding purchasing them.
It may be that many potential EV customers don’t have first-hand experience in owning or driving an EV, which means they don’t yet have full knowledge of charging infrastructure, range or charging speed.
This opens up an opportunity for dealerships and manufacturers to educate drivers on these factors, to help alleviate their worries and encourage them to invest in an EV.
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.