Majority of drivers put off electric cars by rising energy prices

GB News guests debate using electric cars

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More than 70 percent of drivers, who will eventually have to switch to zero emission vehicles after the 2030 sales ban on new fossil-fuelled cars, have been so shocked by the surge in electricity prices that it has tainted their view of EVs. One in 10 say the hike in electricity costs is the main reason for being put off switching to an electric vehicle.

More than 60 percent say they have been left uncertain by the price hikes, but other factors are a stronger influence against a decision to buy an electric car.

Almost one in four drivers (24 percent) are taking the long view on the surge in electricity prices and haven’t been deterred from wanting an EV sometime in the future. 

It is thought that many of those left doubting will come around to this view once the domestic energy price shock recedes.

However, there remain other factors holding back a faster transition to EVs, and the AA’s president Edmund King will address these at the Highways UK conference at the NEC. 

The cost-of-living crisis in general is currently the biggest impediment to a speedier uptake of electric cars.

But while the cost of electricity has soared, so has road fuel. In particular, the UK’s 11.4 million diesel car owners have been rocked by average pump prices moving back to within 10p of the summer record. 

However, with home charging and lower servicing costs, EVs are cheaper to run than their petrol or diesel equivalents.

The AA believes many drivers left in doubt by the energy price shocks will sit tight for the moment and look again at EVs when energy markets settle down again.

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Mr King added: “Today there are almost half a million full EVs on the roads in the UK with more models coming to market each month. 

“However, the cost of living and higher electricity costs are deterring almost three-quarters of drivers from making the switch now. 

“For some drivers, it is a big psychological and practical leap from tried and trusted petrol or diesel cars to full electric models. 

“However, after making that leap drivers will not go back, and the switch ultimately will lead to lower running costs and less damage to the environment.”

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High purchase prices, range anxiety and lack of public chargers have traditionally been the reasons that drivers give as hurdles to electric vehicle uptake.

But in periods of austerity drivers tend to hold onto their current cars longer as they worry about their diminishing disposable income.

The AA also recognises that there will always be hesitancy to switch to new technology, especially when it comes to vehicles.

Some will also be concerned with battery life and the accessibility of public chargers.

Sue Davies, Which? Head of Consumer Protection Policy, commented on the data, saying more needs to be done to help drivers move towards electric vehicles.

She said: “Many consumers want to make the switch to electric vehicles, but the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills are adding huge pressure to household budgets.

“Which? found that the upfront cost of buying an EV is a major barrier preventing drivers from considering one – and rising running costs could further prevent people from making the switch. 

“However, our research shows that for people who can charge at home, electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol and diesel equivalents.

“This won’t be an option for everyone, so it’s important that Governments work with industry to develop and support solutions to enable people without off-street parking to charge at a comparable rate to home charging.”

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