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UK drivers considering EV doubles in last year, claims Close Brothers

Polar network, EV charge point network.

UK drivers considering EV ownership has doubled over the past year, according to Close Brothers’ Britain Under the Bonnet report.

While last year the figure stood at 15% for UK motorists considering EVs, it is now at 30%.

A further two fifths (40%) said they would consider buying one in the future, just not as their next vehicle purchase.

The findings follow recent figures from Industry experts The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) that revealed sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including electric cars, rose by 23.9% in 2017, and now accounts for 5.5% of the market.

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s director of sales Sean Kemple said: “2017 was an important year for electric vehicles, with record growth in sales and the Government’s announcement that the majority of new cars should be electric by 2030. Consumer confidence has also doubled.”

The research shows that 55% trust they’ll be cheaper to run, and 29% believe they would deliver a better driving experience. However, 28% admitted that they wouldn’t consider making the switch.

The reasons were mostly down to range and cost, with 43% concerned about limited range and 47% said the initial outlay is too expensive, and 46% said the technology needed “significant” improvements.

Long charging times were also cited as another major issue for 36%. In fact, 28% of drivers said that 30 minutes is the maximum time they’d be willing to wait to fully charge, while 29% said they’d be willing to wait between 30 minutes and an hour. Just 13% would wait more than two hours.

When it comes to accessing charge points across the UK, analysis of the National Charge Point Registry shows that there are approximately 4,068 publicly funded charge points.

According to the data, Scotland has the highest number of points (approx. 745), followed by the North East of England (approx. 668) and London (504).

Whereas Wales sees the lowest number of charge points (approx. 33), followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (approx. 108) and the East Midlands (approx. 158).

Regional

Approximate number of charging points

Scotland        

745

North East England   

668

London

504

South East England   

452

East of England         

291

South West England  

266

North West England  

251

West Midlands          

212

Northern Ireland

185

East Midlands

158

Yorkshire and the Humber    

108

Wales

33

Not specified

195

Total

4,068

 

“Despite the record year, there are still major perception barriers to overcome. Consumers and dealers alike are still hesitant about making the switch,” said Kemple.

“While dealers would like to see more of these types of vehicles on their forecourts, particularly as they have zero emissions, without improvements to the infrastructure to support the charge and the range, uptake is likely to remain low in the short term.

“For this to happen, the industry and dealers will need to be brought on this journey. As a result of low tax charges, the majority of electric cars on the roads are company cars, but dealers will need to get ready as these cars will likely start coming back into the second hand space in the next couple of years.

“To do this, dealers must be given support to embrace changes in both consumer buying behaviour and government policy, and ensure they have the right cars on their forecourts.”

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