Cost and infrastructure hindering EV uptake

Almost half of British drivers would consider buying a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) in the next five years. Worries around cost and infrastructure, however, are hindering them from making […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Almost half of British drivers would consider buying a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) in the next five years.

Worries around cost and infrastructure, however, are hindering them from making a purchase, a new survey reveals and range anxiety, i.e. fear that a vehicle has insufficient range to reach its destination, is also a major concern.

It was reflected by the findings, with 62% of drivers believing that the insufficient number of charging stations currently make EVs an “impractical choice” compared to diesel and petrol fuelled vehicles. A further 60% were also put off by the upfront costs and 50% were concerned they wouldn’t know where to charge their vehicles.

The issue of costs highlight a lack of awareness of the incentives available from the Government to encourage more people to switch to plug-in cars or EVs. The grant offers UK consumers and businesses 25% off the cost of an ultra-low emission car up to a maximum of £5,000.

The news comes as the Government this week announced its commitment to spending £500 million between 2015 and 2020 for ultra-low emission vehicles.

A report from the WWF showed 1.7 million EVs need to be sold by 2020 and 6.3 million by 2030 if the UK is to meet its agreed carbon reduction target of at least 80% by 2050.

Brian Smithers, Strategic Development Director for Rexel Northern European Zone, which conducted the survey said: “The rate at which the plug-in vehicle market develops in the UK will be determined by a range of factors, including consumer awareness, acceptance and rising oil prices. Independent forecasts suggest that hundreds of thousands of plug-in vehicles could be on the road by 2020. We need to be equipped to deal with this but we also need to be ready to accommodate an even more rapid rate of growth should this occur.

“The survey results highlight that more needs to be done to raise awareness amongst the British public and reassure them that the necessary infrastructure will be in place in the not-too-distant future.”

It also revealed an overwhelming 72% of drivers have never seen an EV charger. There are currently around 3,000 publicly accessible charge points in the UK. The Government last month also announced the winners for the £37 million funding for electric vehicle charging points.