• Barriers to next phase of electric vehicle transition revealed

    Public charging availability, expensive upfront costs, higher electricity bills, battery lifetime, and charging times all cited as key concerns in making the transition to a battery electric vehicle (BEV) for the “early majority” - the segment that follows early adopters of BEVs

    A new report from Transport & Environment UK, written by behaviour change experts SKIM, has revealed the perceptions that the “early majority”, or the segment after early adopters that signal the beginnings of a mass market, have revealed the main barriers that the segment face to BEV adoption.

    The report identified the five top concerns that people cited in making the transition to a BEV – public charging availability, expensive upfront costs, higher electricity bills, battery lifetime and replacement, and charging times. Polling revealed that:

    • Public charging availability was a top concern for 16% of people and a concern for a further 20%.
    • Expensive upfront costs was a top concern for 13% of people and a concern for a further 17%.
    • High electricity bills was a top concern for 11% of people and for a further 17%.
    • Battery lifetime and replacement was a top concern for 9% and a concern for a further 19%.
    • And charging time compared to refilling with petrol was a top concern for 9% of people and was a concern for a further 23%.

    The report also looks at what initiatives and measures could help encourage them to make the transition. 40% of people said an 8-year extended warranty would help them feel more secure about their purchase, while 39% said that charging being guaranteed to be 50% cheaper than petrol prices per mile and a free home charger installations would also help them.

    But people are unaware that some of these measures are already a reality. For example, batteries have much better longevity than people realise and many vehicle manufacturers already offering 8-year guarantees, with this now being a requirement for all new zero-emission sales from 2024. There are also grants for home chargers for renters to help cover installation costs and charging at home is a lot cheaper than petrol mile for mile (8p per mile when charging at home compared to 16p per mile for petrol), giving BEV drivers access to significant running cost savings. 

    Transport & Environment UK is calling on the government to step up to make charging more visible and consumer-friendly while tackling regional inequalities in charging rollout and taking a number of measures to reduce the financial risk of investing in an EV. These include tackling higher public charging costs, introducing a battery health guarantee scheme, faster reskilling of the maintenance and repair sector and taking action to ensure smaller, more affordable BEV models are coming onto the market. Significantly alongside these measures, T&E UK outlines that the government should work with consumer groups and the automotive and BEV industry  to develop a robust communications strategy to more effectively communicate the benefits of switching to a BEV and the support that is already in place.

    Ralph Palmer, UK Electric Vehicle and Fleets Officer at Transport & Environment, said:

    “The zero emissions vehicle mandate will mean a third of new car sales need to be battery electric in 2026 and more than half in 2028, meaning the UK is fast approaching the beginnings of the mass market for EVs. Consumers are generally open to the idea of making the switch but our polling has shown that a combination of policy uncertainty and a lack of reliable information is making the switch to EVs feel riskier than it should be and is undermining their ability to make the best decision for their families and benefit from the cost savings EVs can bring. The government needs to step up to ensure people are getting the facts they need to make informed, greener decisions, reinforced by a reliable charging network across all regions of the country and policies that “de-risk” the purchase of an EV.”

    ENDS