More Motorists Steer Towards Buying Electric Vehicles

22 January 2021 by Jack Porter
blog author

An increasing number of drivers are considering an electric vehicle (EV) when they next change their car, new research from the RAC shows.

The RAC Report of Motoring conducted a study of 3,000 drivers which showed that while 78 percent of motorists feel the cost of an EV is still too high, more are still swaying towards a zero-emissions model.

A total of nine per cent said they intended to ‘go electric’ next time around, compared to six per cent in 2019 and three per cent a year earlier.

However, the current retail price of new pure battery electric vehicles continues to be significantly higher than their petrol or diesel-powered counterparts, resulting in drivers saying they would like more financial help from the Government, as the EVs are out of their price range.

The RAC Report on Motoring research showed more than half of drivers (53 per cent) said they would like to see VAT on zero-emission vehicles either cut or abolished entirely, with 48 per cent favouring a scrappage scheme to make switching from a conventionally powered one to a battery-electric model affordable.

Three-in-10 motorists favour an increase to the current Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) of £1,000 to £4,000, which could be the most straightforward policy change the Government could implement.

Besides cost, motorists also want to know they can charge EVs up easily when they are away from home and 43 per cent say they want the Government to set a binding national target for access to public charge points, such as ensuring 95 per cent of the population live no further than five miles from the nearest charge point.

In the wake of Covid-19, just one in every 10 motorists (11 per cent) expect to upgrade to another vehicle in the next 12 months – a reduction on the 14 per cent recorded in 2019 and 18 per cent in 2018. Just over half of drivers (51 per cent) do not expect to change their current vehicle within the next three years – compared to last year’s 43 per cent, and 35 per cent in 2018.

Rod Dennis, RAC data insight spokesman, said: “With 2030 now clearly set as the date for the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, the momentum behind getting more of us into electric vehicles (‘EVs’) is building – and it’s clear that an increasing proportion of drivers are responding, with nearly one-in-10 now planning to opt for a pure electric next time they change their car.

“But the single biggest barrier to a driver choosing an electric car over one powered by petrol or diesel has to be cost. Although good finance leasing deals and offers such as free home charging for a set period can help, it appears to be the case that the price of many new EVs remains prohibitively high for a lot of people, with most drivers keen to see more financial help from the Government to bring costs down.

“If the Government really wants to stimulate demand for electric vehicles quickly, then it either has to boost the Plug-in Car Grant or remove, or cut, VAT for a fixed period of time.

“A healthy market for new electric cars in the UK will also have another major benefit – it will mean more EVs make their way onto the second-hand market, improving the affordability of zero-emission models for everyone.

“While EVs can’t yet match the miles offered by large diesel cars, the situation is improving all the time. And with the average length of most car trips being short, electric cars can probably fit better into people’s lifestyles than many of us might think, especially as many people will be fortunate enough to be able to charge their cars at home”.

If you would like to read another interesting article on transport electrification, please click here.