80% of UK drivers concerned with the cost of electric vehicles

Global IoT connectivity specialist, Eseye, recently announced the findings from an independent consumer poll that probes UK driver appetite around the transition to EVs. The poll found that the biggest factor under consideration when UK drivers are deciding to switch to EVs is the price with 65% stating this.

Despite this, over 200,000 Pure Electric Vehicles are to hit UK roads in 2021.

The second biggest influencing factor was around environmental concerns (62%), with 45% admitting that the recent petrol crisis had brought this into even sharper focus, influencing their decision to buy an EV.

With the COP26 UN Climate Summit re-focusing global opinions on climate change, understanding driver sentiment around EVs is critical at a time when the pathway to accelerated EV adoption is being laid out. This makes understanding the factors for and against EV adoption of vital global importance.

Eseye commissioned independent research company, Opinion Matters, to poll 1,114 UK drivers from across the UK in October 2021. Additionally, the research looked at demographics such as age, gender, and how this affects attitudes towards adoption of EVs.

Other key survey findings include:

  • Over half of respondents cited performance (54%) and legislation about moving to EVs by 2030 (54%) as additional key influencing factors.
  • 80% of respondents said that price was the top concern when looking to lease or own an EV.
  • 80% said they were concerned about the availability of EV charge points.
  • 78% were anxious about the longevity of EV battery technology.
  • 75% raised concerns around charge point connectivity.
  • 72% stated the time to charge EVs was an issue.
  • 71% were worried about the reliability of EV charging machines and payment processing.
  • 70.5% admitted to range anxiety.

Drivers switching to EVs want to be assured that there is a reliable, available infrastructure to support them. Rapid, dependable charge point connectivity is essential to ensure customers have a swift and stress-free charging experience.

Nick Earle, CEO, Eseye comments: “It is interesting our poll found that the closer UK drivers get to switching to EVs, the less they are concerned about environmental issues and the more they are concerned about performance, price and the overall charging infrastructure and experience. Therefore, educating people who are further out from buying an EV on these aspects could potentially influence their decision and accelerate the switch.”

The survey revealed mixed views on charging experiences. The majority (59%) find that charging points are relatively easy to use, compared to 34% who find the process complicated. Over a quarter of respondents (33%) find that public charge points are not always available when they need to recharge.

Additionally, when asked how important it is to manage their ownership or lease of their EV in one place through an app or website, over two-thirds (68%) said this was either very or fairly important. This would enable EV drivers to have billing, details on charge points and other information streamlined and easily available. This rises to 84% among experienced EV users indicating that central management is of real-world value to the EV owning community.

Demographic differences

The poll found that environmental concerns, the recent petrol crisis and climate change legislation was more of an influencing factor for women than men, while price was more of an influencing factor for men (67%) than women (63%). However, running costs were more of a concern for women (67%) than men (60%). Surprisingly range anxiety was more of a concern for men (73%) than women (68%).

The commuting age groups were definitely more concerned about all the infrastructure, charging networks and connectivity issues, thinking about the practical issues of running an EV. While price was a big influence on 46-55 age category (67%) and 66+ (71%).

In fact, price was the highest concern for 95% of the 66+ age group. The 17–25-year-old category are most convinced that EVs are a solution to help tackle the climate crisis and are more open to the transition to EVs than other age categories.

Regional variances

Out of the different regions polled, Greater London is more influenced by price and environmental concerns, perhaps owing to recent legislation on vehicle emissions in this area. Northern Ireland scored higher than other regions on concerns around the availability of charge points (89%), the longevity of EV battery technology (89%) concerns over EV performance (78%) and range anxiety (78%). This indicates that there is a long way to go to educate drivers in Northern Ireland about the benefits of EVs.

Nick Earle concludes: “Transport is now the largest sector for UK greenhouse gas emissions and the transition to zero-emission vehicles is therefore vital to realising the UK’s net-zero ambitions.

“Sustainable mobility is not something that will happen in the future — it is happening now. However, we must educate UK drivers around not only the benefits, but provide the reassurance that the infrastructure, the charging network and the management tools are in place and ready to support their transition away from fossil fuel-based vehicles.”