'Unable to take plunge': Drivers hesitant to switch to electric cars over charging fears

New research shows nine percent of drivers with a vehicle aged more than four years are committed to their next car being an electric car, but are delaying the change for the “right time”. Drivers in London were almost twice as likely as those in Wales, Yorkshire and the North East to be sure their next car will be an EV.

It is likely this regional variation is due to the ULEZ charge in London persuading drivers to consider an electric vehicle.

Other reasons drivers are hanging on to vehicles over four years include not being able to afford to change (31 percent), driving a classic car (four percent) or waiting for their current finance deal or loan to end (three percent).

One percent of survey respondents said they have ordered a new car but it is delayed, according to the AA.

Overall, the most common reason drivers are sticking with their four-year-plus car is they don’t feel the need for a new one (63 percent).

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“With fuel prices remaining high, the deals you can find on EVs are even more appealing at the moment, particularly for those drivers, like Londoners, who face the double financial hit of high fuel costs and clean air zone charges.”

This comes as new data from What Car? revealed that only a quarter of electric car buyers would be comfortable relying solely on public chargers.

From the research, 20.7 percent of drivers were in the market for an electric car, but 74.7 percent would not be comfortable owning an EV if they could only use public chargers to recharge their car.  

The research also found more than 92 percent of EV buyers surveyed are able to recharge their car at home or nearby.

A further 87.8 percent either already own or are planning to install a wallbox charger to cover overnight charging. 

According to charging point map provider, Zap-Map, there are currently more than 520,000 fully electric cars on UK roads and 33,281 charging devices across 20,336 locations.

This is equal to around one charging device for every 15 electric cars.

Prospective buyers were also asked whether they intend to use the EV as their primary or secondary car.

More than nine in 10 said it would be their primary car they use for commuting and most trips.

Around two-thirds said public charging would not be their main method of charging, but are happy to use it when they have to.

The study found that 12.8 percent of drivers said they are unlikely to use public charging at all.  

Steve Huntingford, editor, What Car?, said: “The uptake of electric cars is one of the key success stories for the UK automotive sector, but for it to continue, the public charging network needs to improve. 

“The charging network still isn’t perceived to be good enough by buyers, creating a problem for those without access to off-street parking.”

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