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Barriers to choosing an electric car

Charging Attitudes

What will it take for drivers to switch to electric cars?

8 May 2019

Despite rhetoric and challenging climate change targets, practical measures are needed before mainstream motorists will be convinced to buy electric vehicles, according to the AA president addressing a BP Chargemaster conference in London on 8 May 2019.

An AA-Populus poll of 19,350 drivers found the biggest current stumbling block for more than one third (35%) of drivers is the higher cost of Electric Vehicles compared to their petrol or diesel equivalent.

Focus plug 640

When asked ‘what would it take for you to choose a battery electric vehicle?’ the responses were:

  • 35% – EVs cost the same (or less) than petrol/diesel
  • 33% – Real world range > 250 miles on a single charge
  • 27% – A lot more charging points where I park
  • 25% – Hundreds of rapid chargers along strategic roads
  • 16% – More choice of cars
  • 15% – Penalties for driving petrol/diesel become too high
New laws to encourage take-up of plug-in vehicles

Drivers were also asked “To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following possible regulatory ideas that could be introduced to encourage the take-up of more plug-in vehicles – Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)?”

The most popular proposals were:

  • New-build homes with off-street (i.e. driveway) parking must have an EV charging point installed as standard (68% agree) 
  • New-build homes with allocated parking not directly adjacent (e.g. communal parking area) must have an EV charging point installed as standard (65% agree)
  • New EV charge points installed at homes should default to charging at off-peak times (59% agree but 75% then say that drivers should be able to override this to charge immediately)

The ideas that drivers were least likely to agree with were: 

  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) should be allowed to use bus lanes (64% disagree) 
  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) should be allowed to use bus lanes (62% disagree)
Charging is all rather confusing

King will also tell the conference that half of drivers find the whole subject of charging rather confusing due to different types, speeds, payment methods and connectors. This leads to more than three-quarters (77%) supporting a uniform method of accessing public charging points.

Drivers are divided on the idea of green number plates for plug-in vehicles with just under two fifths (37%) supporting the idea and just over a fifth (22%) opposed to it.  

Edmund King, AA president, said: “It is easy to say that all new cars should be electric by 2030 or 2035 or any arbitrary date but the reality is that much still needs to be done in terms of addressing the legitimate concerns of drivers regarding cost and supply of vehicles, as well as, improving range and the ease of charging. 

Once we get a mass market, stylish, affordable, practical EV with a decent range, it will sell like hot cakes
Edmund King, AA president

“The big game changer for 84% of drivers will be when car manufacturers can offer the right car at the right price. Throughout history we have seen certain iconic cars break the mould and transform the market from the Model T Ford through to the Morris Minor, Mini or Beetle. Once we get a mass market, stylish, affordable, practical EV with a decent range, it will sell like hot cakes. ” 


The BP Chargemaster conference ‘Powering the charge’ took place at Events @ No 6 in London on 8 May and was addressed by Transport Minister, Jesse Norman MP.

Populus received 19,350 responses from AA members to its online poll between 16 and 24 April 2019

 

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