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Study: What’s Stopping More People from Buying an Electric Car?

Recent figures show that one in five drivers in the UK now drive an electric vehicle. But of those who do, half of them are unhappy with the charging infrastructure. We look at the numbers in this article.

Electric cars are here. The battery lives are improving, the choice is improving and, despite rising electricity costs, they’re still more financially economical to run than petrol cars (providing you’re charging at home). In fact, according to recent statistics from Barriers, one in five drivers in the UK are now driving an electric vehicle. But of those who are driving an EV, the same study found that half believe there are insufficient public charging points.

The figures came from a poll of 2,000 people in the UK carried out in 2023. The same poll found that 26% of EV drivers have found public chargers broken/unreliable too.

What’s stopping non-EV drivers from going electric?

The poll sought to found out the reasons that 80% of UK drivers still aren’t driving an electric vehicle.

For those who are driving non-electric, the single biggest reason cited for not having an electric car was price. 23% of those who don’t yet drive electric said that the high cost of buying electric cars is the main reason they’ve not yet plugged in to green vehicles.

17% said they were concerned about a lack of public charging points. At the same time, 7% said they worry about broken/unreliable charging points.

However, in better news, more than one in four drivers who’ve not yet gone electric said they would consider doing so.

Are electric cars more expensive?

But are electric cars actually more expensive? What Car reports that, yes, generally speaking, the purchase or lease price of an EV is higher than that of a similar petrol or diesel model. This is because they’re often manufactured in lower quantities and ultimately they use newer (and thus more expensive) technology.

However, the running cost of these vehicles is often significantly less than that of petrol vehicles, despite the rising price of electricity in recent months.

In addition, there are notable tax benefits in going electric for those whose cars are company cars. So the savings you can make by running an EV over a petrol or diesel vehicle can often very much make up for it.

But what is clear is that price isn’t the only sticking point for petrol and diesel car drivers. The UK’s green car infrastructure isn’t even impressing those who’ve already gone green. So if we want to convince non-EV drivers to swap their petrol pump for an electric charger, we simply have to see improvements to the EV charging infrastructure across the country.