The “early majority”: the next phase of the EV transition in the UK

March 15, 2024

T&E UK lays out what the barriers are for the next segment of battery electric vehicle adopters and what can be done to help them make the transition

There are now million  battery electric vehicles on UK roads and they are due to make up over a fifth of new car sales this year. The UK then, is moving from an early adopters market for BEVs to the “early majority” – the beginnings of the mass market. 

The transition from early adopters to early majority means that factors such as cost, convenience and confidence are going to become more important than ever. The UK’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate will mean there will be an increasing amount of new BEVs on the market. Manufacturers will also be under pressure to provide the cars consumers want and need at a reasonable price to ensure they fulfil the targets. 

The ZEV mandate will do a lot of heavy lifting but wider concerns around the charging network and general confidence in operating BEVs on a day-to-day basis may be causing hesitation among private buyers to make the switch. Against a backdrop of intense media misinformation, Government and industry need to be working closely to ensure that not only are policies being implemented to address practical barriers, but that also consumers are able to access clear and reliable information on the realities of owning a BEV and the benefits it can bring. 

In this research, we worked with SKIM, to identify where policy and public information is not addressing new car buyer needs or concerns.

T&E UK recommendations:

Confidence: The Government invests in improving public communications with industry and consumer groups and implements measures that will help boost consumer confidence.
Charging: The Government takes action to “level-up” the UK’s public charging network, with better regional rollout of chargers, removing barriers to scaling up rapid charger installations and implements measures to guarantee even higher standards for consumer experience of public chargers.
Costs: Government and the car industry should take action to bring more affordable BEV models to the market, while Government should reform taxation to better incentivise BEVs for new private car buyers. The Government should also monitor other potential cost issues with public charging and insurance premiums, as well widening access to BEV salary sacrifice schemes.

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