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More Drivers Than Ever Are Planning To Go Electric - But Are They Still Too Expensive?

A recent study has shown that almost 8 in 10 (78%) motorists still think that electric vehicles are too expensive upfront when compared to equivalent combustion vehicles of the same size.

Despite this, an increasing proportion of the population are planning to choose an electric car when they next change their vehicle according to research conducted by RAC.

The results of the research saw an increase from 3% of drivers in 2018 to 6% of drivers in 2019 and 9% drivers in 2020 who say they plan to ‘go electric’ when they buy a new car. This shows that drivers are slowly growing in their willingness to opt for a zero-emission vehicle.

Further research looked at when drivers expect to change their current car and the data showed that in 2020 more drivers are planning to keep their current car for longer. This is thought to be in order for electric vehicle prices to become more affordable. The results can be seen below:

Within 12 months: 11% 

 n 1-2 years: 20% 

In 2-3 years: 18% 

In 3-4 years: 8% 

In 4-5 years: 6% 

In more than 5 years: 5% 

Not sure: 18%

 No plans to replace current vehicle: 15%

It was also noticed that the number of drivers who would buy petrol next dropped significantly, while for the first time, more drivers are expected to get an electrified (plug-in hybrid or fully electric) vehicle than a diesel one.

However, with the current pricing trends of pure electric vehicles being significantly higher than those of petrol and diesel powered equivalents, they still remain out of reach for a large percentage of the population. This news has prompted experts to insist on more financial help from the Government when purchasing a new electric vehicle.

A study found that over 50% of drivers believe that cutting or abolishing VAT on pure electric vehicles would be an incentive to buy. While a slightly smaller proportion of drivers would like the see a scrappage scheme put in place to offset the cost of transitioning to an EV from a traditionally powered vehicle.

A further 30% of drivers favour an increase of one third in the Plug-in Car Grant bringing the figure to £4000. This is argued to be the most straightforward policy change the Government could implement should they choose to make changes to the current support offered.

Interestingly, cost isn’t the only factor limiting drivers’ purchasing decisions as they also want to know that they can charge their vehicles more easily away from their home. This is vital for the estimated one third of the population for whom home charging is not a possibility.

Following this, over 40% of drivers would like to see the Government setting binding targets across the nation to bring public charging points to within a short driving distance of 95% of homes in the UK.

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