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UK drivers still not plugged in to electric car revolution

UK drivers are still not sold on the idea of electric cars, according to new research released today. Despite the SMMT* reporting that electric cars are now at their highest ever market share, just 15% of drivers would consider buying one as their next vehicle.

The Britain Under the Bonnet report from Close Brothers Motor Finance reveals that one in five (21%) drivers said that, despite liking the idea of electric cars, vast improvements to the technology were needed before they would contemplate purchasing one.

According to the report, the main issues are the negative perceptions of range and cost. Although the longest range of an electric car covers more than 300 miles in a single charge, it appears this isn’t enough for the UK public. One in ten (11%) cited this as the reason they wouldn’t consider switching to electric. 13% of drivers also feel the initial outlay for an electric car is prohibitive. However, while the price tag can be daunting, electric cars are exempt from road tax as well as being eligible for grants of up to £4500 depending on the model.

Industry experts the SMMT* have recently reported a 400% increase in demand in electric cars. However, despite a considerable spike in sales, electric cars still only account for 4% of total new car sales – significantly less than our European neighbours. In comparison to countries like Norway, where over half (51%) of new car sales are electric or hybrid, Britain seems a long way off its stated goal of having almost all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050.

James Broadhead, CEO of Close Brothers Motor Finance said: “It is clear that more needs to be done to educate consumers about the pros of electric cars, not only from an environmental but a personal finance perspective.

“Despite the growth in electric cars sales, there are still major perception barriers to overcome. The government is taking steps in the right direction to increase the uptake of electric vehicles, but at this rate of change it is unlikely that their zero emissions goal will be reached by 2050. To the delight of all the Jeremy Clarkson fans out there, it’s likely to be a long time before UK consumers fully adopt to electric car technology.”

“Until consumer perceptions of them change, electric cars are unlikely to become truly mainstream. However given the drive to increase the numbers of these vehicles in circulation, dealers will need to keep abreast of developments in this space.