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Why drivers put the brakes on going electric

Electric car charging bays - motorway services

New research has revealed the biggest three factors holding buyers back from switching to electric cars.

Higher purchase prices (52%), lack of local charging points (44%) and fear of being caught short on longer journeys (38%) were the top reasons, according to the research by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The result is that while electric vehicles (EVs) now account for one in six models on sale (17%), they make up just one in 13 purchases (8%).

Motorists are most attracted to the lower running costs (41%) and chance to improve the environment (29%).

A third (37%) are optimistic about buying a full EV by 2025, 44% don’t think they’ll be ready by 2035 (the year petrol, diesel and hybrids will be banned from sale), with 24% saying that they can’t ever see themselves owning one.

Extensive analysis by SMMT and Frost and Sullivan also shows that a full, zero emission-capable UK new car market will require 1.7 million public charge points by the end of the decade and 2.8 million by 2035.

Given there are only some 19,314 on-street charge points today, the task is massive, needing 507 on-street chargers to be installed per day until 2035 at a cost of £16.7 billion.

Despite these reservations, most barriers can be overcome with the right strategy…

SMMT’s key recommendations for a smooth, sustainable transition to zero

  1. Government to drive uptake through incentives, including grants for all zero emission-capable vehicles and tax breaks, in place for at least six years.
  2. A national strategic plan delivered locally to uplift the number of chargepoints and ensure the right type of chargers are in the right places.
  3. Support for local authorities, with guidance on planning permission and technical standards, and a requirement to adhere to national standards.
  4. A multi-sector strategy and roadmap with targets for incentives, infrastructure and energy provision, alongside positive consumer messages on all technology choices.
  5. All public chargepoints to be available for all users, including rapid and ultra-rapid types, with credit/debit card access and/or network roaming.
  6. Progress to be reviewed at regular intervals, with key enabling metrics reported annually to track against plan.
  7. A bold strategy to support the UK’s industrial transition, to retain, grow and transform auto manufacturing in the UK and attract new investment, including upskilling the workforce, battery gigafactory investment, supply chain development and strategic R&D investment at a globally competitive level.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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