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5 key concerns in the transition to the electric vehicle era

A recent Transport & Environment UK report, written by SKIM's behavioural change specialists, has shed light on the main concerns of the 'early majority' in the transition to electric vehicles (BEVs). This segment, which follows early adopters and marks the beginning of a mass market, has identified the key challenges it faces in BEV adoption.

Among the top five concerns identified in the report are the availability of public charging, expensive upfront costs, higher electricity bills, battery life and replacement, and charging times. These findings reflect the concerns of those considering making the transition to electric vehicles in the near future.

What will the industry need to work on?

  1. Public charging availability was a top concern for 16% of people and a concern for a further 20%.
  2. Expensive upfront costs was a top concern for 13% of people and a concern for a further 17%.
  3. High electricity bills was a top concern for 11% of people and for a further 17%.
  4. Battery lifetime and replacement was a top concern for 9% and a concern for a further 19%.
  5. 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 extended 8-year warranty would help them feel more confident with their purchase, while 39% said it would also help them to have a guarantee that charging will be 50% cheaper than petrol prices per mile and free installation of a home charger.

However, according to T&E UK, people are unaware that some of these measures are already a reality. For example, batteries have a much longer longevity than people think and many vehicle manufacturers already offer 8 year warranties, which is now a requirement for all new zero emission sales from 2024. There are also subsidies for home chargers for renters to help cover the costs of installation and home charging are much cheaper than petrol mile for mile, giving BEV drivers access to significant running cost savings.

T&E 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 that “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.”


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