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What drivers think about electric vehicles

Drivers still need to be convinced about electric vehicles

Broader, more concerted efforts are required to convince the public of the wide benefits of EVs if the Government's 'Road to Zero' targets are to be met

12 July 2018

Most drivers still see too many barriers to their early adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) despite the Government’s commitment to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, according to the AA president giving a keynote presentation to the LowCVP annual conference on 12 July 2018.

The AA and LowCVP argue that many of these perceptions are myths rather than reality and hence broader concerted efforts are required to convince the public of the wide benefits of EVs.

Edmund King outlined the findings of an AA-Populus poll of 10,293 drivers in June 2018 which was specially commissioned for the LowCVP conference and showed that:

  • The vast majority of respondents (85%) say that there aren’t enough public charging points for EVs
  • Three quarters (76%) agree that EVs can’t go far enough on a single charge
  • 76% think EVs are too expensive
  • Two thirds (67%) think EVs take too long to charge
  • 67% think there isn’t enough choice of Electric Vehicle models
 New nissan leaf at evec
A third would like to own an EV

Overall almost a third (31%) said they would like to own an EV. However, there are wide differences depending on age:

  • Half (50%) of those aged 25-34, 40% aged 18-24 and 40% aged 35-44 agree that they would like to have an electric vehicle, but
  • This reduces to a third for those aged 45-54, 29% aged 55-64 and only a quarter of those aged 65 plus.

Asked when they actually expected to own an EV, 35% anticipated this to be within ten years.  The question specifically excluded Plug-in hybrids which suggests that the Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ ambition to see between 50% and 70% of new car sales being ultra-low emission by 2030 at a stretch may be attainable, but only if car manufacturers and government/private sector deliver the vehicles and infrastructure that drivers want.

Concerted effort

Speaking at the conference, Edmund King OBE, AA president, said: “In order to meet the Government’s 'Road to Zero' targets a concerted effort is required to demonstrate the benefits of EVs and dispel some of the myths. The range, charging speed and charging point infrastructure are all on the increase. There needs to be a more concerted effort by us all to sell the benefits of electric vehicles. 

Drivers used to filling up when their tank’s nearly empty will need to change re-fuelling habits as most drivers with EVs expect to charge at home, overnight, and then at their destination.

There needs to be a more concerted effort by us all to sell the benefits of electric vehicles
Edmund King, president of the AA
Plug-in hybrids (PHEV) are an important stepping stone

“Plug-in hybrids shouldn’t be under-estimated as a positive stepping-stone to full EVs. Ultimately outstanding, affordable, stylish EVs with a decent range will sell themselves. Massive savings can already be made on running and service costs, as well as, the tax benefits.

Ultimately outstanding, affordable, stylish EVs with a decent range will sell themselves
Edmund King, president of the AA

“The EV revolution hasn’t perhaps taken off as quickly as we would have liked but now we have a firm commitment to the charging infrastructure, as well as, future-proofing houses, offices and strategic roads. There are now some exciting EVs on the market and many new and exhilarating models on the horizon. The younger generation in particular are ready to embrace the electric revolution.”

Enthusiasm and advocay

Commenting on the survey, Andy Eastlake, LowCVP Managing Director, said: “The survey shows that motorists with little direct experience of driving an EV are yet to be convinced about them. By contrast, our work with communities of EV users shows that, with experience, doubt can quickly turn to enthusiasm and keen advocacy.

Our work with communities of EV users shows that, with experience, doubt can quickly turn to enthusiasm and keen advocacy
Andy Eastlake, LowCVP Managing Director

“The challenge, which we will be addressing with key stakeholders, is how to give mainstream motorists the experience they need and to address some of the misconceptions they hold.” 

 

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