Electric cars are the future’. How many times have you heard that tired line?

While it probably isn’t untrue, the electric future isn’t likely to happen any time soon after a new study suggested that Brits will hold off buying an electric vehicle (EV) for almost a decade on average.

Tesla Model X 1

The UK government has essentially put an expiry date on pure petrol and diesel cars, banning their sale from 2040. There have been equally massive statements from brands like Volvo – a long-time diesel dependent – which dropped diesel for its new S60 saloon and will only sell electric or hybrid cars from 2019.

However, fresh research suggests that the British public aren’t quite ready for the electric revolution, with drivers saying they will wait an average of nine years to buy an electric or hybrid car.

What is stopping people from embracing EVs?

Car keys - buying car 2


The study, published by Auto Trader, found that a lack of charging infrastructure and upfront expense were the most common put-offs. As drivers change their cars every two to three years on average, this means that they will likely to go through three cars before taking the plug-in plunge.

Just over one in four (26 per cent) of the 1,000+ drivers quizzed would consider going electric for their next car – the same percentage as when Auto Trader asked the same question in March 2017.

Electric savings

saving money 3

Separate research indicates that electric cars cost less when run for over four years and can be driven for as little as 2p per mile, compared with 10-12p for a conventionally powered vehicle.

“[This means] the typical car owner can save hundreds of pounds every year in fuel costs alone,” said Poppy Welch, head of the Go Ultra Low initiative.

“Drivers making the switch are already reaping the benefits, such as tax benefits and reduced servicing and maintenance costs.”

Plug-in charge

Poppy also poo-poo’ed the supposed limited range of electric vehicle, adding: “Although charging is one of the biggest barriers to mass consumer uptake, almost half of motorists drive less than 15 miles a day, while 98 per cent said they travel less than 100 – well within the range of pure electric vehicles and easily achievable in a plug-in hybrid.”

She went on to point out that more than 90 per cent of all EV charging takes place at home, supporting the idea that publicly accessible charging points are for emergency top-ups or super-long distance driving.

Changing perceptions

Fuel Dispenser

It’s not that Brits don’t care about the environmental harm caused by petrol and diesel cars; in fact, more than half of respondents (56 per cent) said they care more about fuel types than they did 12 months ago.

Auto Trader has seen diesel searches nosedive from a peak of 72 per cent in June 2016 to 47 per cent two years later, while interest in alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) has doubled from two to four per cent over the same time period.

Nissan Leaf 2018 Charging

“There’s no doubt that electric vehicles are the future,” said Erin Baker, editorial director at Auto Trader.

“However, our research indicates that there are still significant barriers to adoption, with greater investment in infrastructure and technology needed.”

She added that car manufacturers and the government need to use clear and easy to understand language when talking electric cars to make them more accessible, rather than spout technological jargon that consumers may find alienating.

Are you ready to go electric? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments…

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