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Electric cars taking off?

By Paul Baxter, 15th May 2024

Category: Electric vehicle

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow across the world, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that Britain’s millionth EV had been registered during January 2024.

Our research with UK consumers found that 5% of motorists we surveyed said that they already owned an electric car, 9% stating that they will definitely make the switch and 47% saying they will consider an electric car when they next buy an EV.

The key reasons for the change in buying intentions are that electric cars are better for the environment, according to 58% of those who have either bought or are considering purchasing an electric car, the fact that petrol and diesel cars are being phased out by 2035 (47%) or that motorists want to reduce their carbon emissions (42%).

Other reasons given are that it’s become easier to charge electric cars (26%), that models are more reliable than in the past (18%) and that prices of electric cars have fallen far enough to make them affordable (10%).

Despite those improvements, 69% of motorists that have owned or plan to own an electric car are still concerned that access to charging stations is a problem, while 67% say that they worry about running out of charge on long journeys. A further 32% believe insurance is more expensive than for petrol or diesel cars, and 18% think that there is a more limited choice of insurers.

Getting repairs is also perceived to be problematic by 31% of drivers who have bought or plan to buy an electric vehicle, and the same number (31%) think there is a limited used electric car market.

While 39% of those not considering a switch said they don’t believe that electric cars are any better for the environment, this falls to just 13% of motorists aged 18-24, and rises to 43% of motorists aged 55-64. Younger motorists aged 18-24 are also more likely to see the Government’s delay on the ban on new petrol and diesel cars to 2035 as a backwards step, with almost a third (31%) agreeing compared with just 14% of drivers aged 65 and over.

When asked whether they had saved money on the annual cost of driving, the majority (87%) of those motorists that had already switched to running an electric car said that they had made either slight (39%) or substantial (48%) savings. The majority (43%) had achieved cost savings of between 20% and 30% a year, and a further 30% of drivers had saved more than 30% a year.

Appetite is clearly growing for alternatives to traditional vehicles. And as our research shows, concerns about the environmental impact of driving a petrol or diesel vehicle are a key motivation, especially for younger drivers.

Barriers such as a lack of charging stations and making long journeys will naturally recede in line with market growth, and cost savings reported by motorists who have already made the switch will be another important incentive going forward.