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UK drivers' desire for EVs hampered by misconceptions around costs

Data collected by Centrica’s Hive has revealed that 54% of UK drivers want to switch to an electric vehicle (EV) within the next 5 years, ahead of the UK government’s internal combustion engine production ban from 2030. Further data reveals that 58% of UK drivers would also consider integrating a home charger.

The demand for EVs is continuing to grow and is showing no signs of slowing down. The data collected by Hive from UK drivers is also supported in EV sales, with more EVs having been purchased in 2022 so far than in the entirety of 2020. The 11,240 pure EVs registered in July 2022 represents approximately 11% of new automotives registered in the UK in July.

However, despite the ever increasing demand for EVs, concerns remain that may be hampering the adoption of EVs at an even greater rate (noting also the impact of supply chain disruptions that are leading to extended delivery times). In particular, there is a view that the cost of home charging could make the switch to an EV less cost efficient, in light of the current energy crisis.

Research recently published by Hive has found that the view that switching to an EV is not cost efficient is a common misconception. When asked what they estimated as being the cost to fully charge an electric estate car with a home charger, respondents estimated approximately £21. However, assuming electricity rates of 15p per kWh off-peak and 40.2p at peak, charging a 50kWh battery could cost as little as approximately £7.50. This is substantially lower than the cost of fuelling a comparable petrol or diesel vehicle.

A further misconception is revealed by further data collected by Hive which found that 27% of respondents believe home charging to be more expensive than using public chargers. In reality, public charging is generally a significantly more expensive proposition.

Research conducted by WWF and ScottishPower reveals that should UK drivers switch to EVs and incorporate a charging system into the driver’s home, they will save money over the long term, especially if petrol and diesel prices remain at or close to current levels. WWF and ScottishPower predict that households can save £1,800 a year on their energy bills if they adopt solar panels, EV chargers and heat pumps.

When considering EV adoption in the UK, another significant challenge is ensuring sufficient available charging infrastructure to accommodate the rapidly expanding population of EV drivers who do not live in a home with a drive or some other form of off-street parking.

The AA, who estimate that 40% of UK households do not have access to off-street parking, has recently called for an urgent increase in charging infrastructure to meet the rapidly growing demand in this space.

While the Government has budgeted £1.6bn to support the installation of 300,000 charge points by 2030, many remain concerned about the ability of these schemes to keep pace with the rising demand for charging infrastructure and expect that this will remain an area which requires on-going government stimulus.

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