21 August 2017
Whether the Government’s target to eliminate sales of internal combustion engine cars by 2040 is practical or not, it is the younger generation leading the way in embracing electric car technology.
That’s according to new research which shows that younger drivers are more likely to own an electric vehicle (EV) than any other age group. Those aged 24-34 are next most likely to own one while those aged 55 and above least likely to do so*.
Edmund King, AA president says: “This may confound the ‘boy racer’ image that older people may have of young drivers. Although overall numbers are still low, it shows that young drivers are taking an interest in new car technology – despite the fact that three-quarters (76%) are concerned about the high purchase price of EVs. But even that compares with 84% of older drivers concerned about price.”
Perceived barriers to ownership
The AA-Populus study amongst over 16,500* drivers showed that for those who don’t own an EV, barriers to ownership stubbornly remain the perceived lack of charging stations; the cost of buying an electric car and durability of the battery.
Other concerns include the potential time it might take to offset low running costs against purchase price and ‘limited range’.
“In reality, these concerns are evaporating much more quickly than perhaps most people realise,” says King.
Younger drivers 'get' electric driving
“It seems that young drivers certainly ‘get’ the concept of electric driving and our research consistently showed that it is older drivers who are putting up concerns that simply don’t exist. In fact a third of respondents overall (33%) say they have no understanding of EVs.”
It seems that young drivers certainly ‘get’ the concept of electric driving and our research consistently showed that it is older drivers who are putting up concerns that simply don’t exist
'Drive electric' at the new EV experience centre
To counter that lack of awareness, the AA Trust has launched ‘Drive Electric’ – free sessions designed to help drivers understand electric vehicles and how to obtain the best economy from them.
The first sessions are being run in conjunction with the new Electric Vehicle Experience Centre in Milton Keynes launched by Roads Minister Jessie Norman MP in July – the first centre of its type dedicated to electric and plug-in vehicles.
The average journey is only 8.9 miles
The fact is the average journey length in the UK is just 8.9 miles and for most families, an EV is the ideal economical and practical solution for a second car at least.
EV range is increasing
New vehicles are coming on stream with much higher practical range (200 miles will soon be very much the low end) and there are hundreds of new public charging points being installed every month.
Government incentives are designed to not only contribute towards the cost of a new EV but also for the cost of charging points at homes and work places**.
Young drivers are most likely to want to charge their car at work (nearly a third, 32%, of 18-24 year olds say so compared with 11% of 55-64-year-olds). Firms can get grants towards installing charging points and doing so demonstrates a commitment to the fast-changing automotive technology.
King also welcomed the recent (3 August 2017) spending commitment for on-street EV charging points such as the Transport for London announcement that £4.5m is being spent on improving the on-street charging infrastructure in Greater London.
“Our study clearly showed that if such points were installed in residents’ parking places, it would bring down an immediate barrier to ownership for those living in flats for example, who otherwise find it difficult to charge their cars.
“EV ownership has been growing rapidly but is still a long way from widespread public acceptance, given that registrations of plug-in vehicles recently passed just 100,000***.
EV ownership has been growing rapidly but is still a long way from widespread public acceptance
“Initiatives such as the new Chargemaster-sponsored multi-brand Electric Vehicle Experience Centre in Milton Keynes will help break down the perceived barriers but it is clear that young drivers are the most enthusiastic adopters of the new world of electric driving.”
* 5% of respondents aged 18-24 say they own an EV compared with 4% aged 25-34 and 1% of those aged 55+. Populus surveyed 16,508 AA Members between 12 and 19 July 2017
** The plug-in car grant grant will pay 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum of £4,500 for cars that can travel at least 70 miles with zero emissions, and a range of grants are available for installation of chargers at home or on business premises
*** The 100,000th plug-in vehicle registration was marked on 18 June by a ‘power drive’ from Greenwich to Milton Keynes of EVs, organised by Chargemaster