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69% of Britons would consider switching to an electric vehicle

12 July, 2017 – NewMotion, Europe’s leading charge point provider for electric vehicles (EVs), today releases new research that shows attitudes towards electric vehicles from the UK population. Over 3,000 consumers were surveyed nationwide, to gain insight into their understanding of electric vehicles and the issues surrounding them. The research shows that, although 69 per cent of people would consider switching to an EV in the future, there is still a lack of understanding about what this means.

Over the past two years, changes in technology and governmental policies have helped EVs gain media traction as well as become an increasingly attractive commuter transport option. Major political shifts in attitudes towards EV have helped usher in this change; The UK Modern transport Bill, the announcement of the first mass available electric vehicle from Tesla, and even The Queen’s speech in 2017 that talked about ensuring Britain remained a global leader in EV, are all contributing to a significant change in the way EVs are perceived.

Despite these significant changes, there is still a lack of understanding from the general public. Over three quarters of respondents (76%) did not know what ‘EV’ stood for when asked. Over a quarter of people (27%) didn’t know how they would charge an EV and 58 per cent of people think an EV can be charged through an ordinary electrical socket. Whilst this is possible, you’d need the right kind of cable otherwise risk encountering serious problems. This represents a significant lack of understanding of how EVs are charged and the benefits of smart charging points being faster and cloud-connected compared to charging using any ordinary socket.

Respondents were also unsure about how far an EV can travel, with the majority of people guessing an average of 63 miles range on a fully charged battery (a full EV such as a Nissan Leaf will travel 107 miles on a fully charged battery). This shows that the “range anxiety” people might experience when considering buying an EV is more a lack of knowledge than an actual fear.

Sander van der Veen, UK Country Manager, NewMotion, commented: “At the moment general consumer awareness of EVs is pretty low in the UK. However, this is going to have to change pretty quickly as the world around us adapts to a new normal. It’s the responsibility of governments, car manufacturers and companies like NewMotion, who support the charging infrastructure, to help raise awareness and educate the next generation of car users. We’re on the verge of an electric vehicle revolution that won’t suddenly go away.”

When asked about why they would switch to an EV, 59% of respondents stated they wanted to help reduce their pollution and 57% of people wanted to reduce their total cost of car ownership. 46% of respondents recognised that owning an EV would reduce their car tax, whilst those questioned who already owned an EV claim that they are saving 15% compared to fuelling a traditional car.

Sander van der Veen continued, “There’s definitely an appetite from consumers to move away from the traditional petrol/diesel model of transport. Not only are costs increasingly prohibitive, consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of driving with petrol and diesel.

“The introduction of the toxin tax, which sees a clampdown on air pollution in the UK, means diesel motorists will soon be expected to pay daily fees to drive their vehicles, which could add large monthly costs.

“Yet it isn’t as simple as just changing to an EV, we need to help provide a better understanding of how they work and what changes drivers need to make to allow EVs to work for them. With almost 20% of people we spoke to thinking you charge an EV from a portable battery pack speaks volumes about the lack of understanding.”

Interestingly, respondents who had already made the switch to EV were more likely to have other innovative technologies in their home than those without. 94% of respondents who already own an EV have other innovative technologies in their home, such as solar panels (33%) or some form of wind harnessing technology in their homes (29%). This demonstrates how EVs are fast becoming the choice mode of transport for early adopters who have made other changes in their daily routines to make a positive lifestyle impact.