Petrol and diesel cars will dominate vehicle sales in the foreseeable future, according to a poll for information agency Somo.
Despite the environment being the biggest driver for switching to an electric vehicle, new research by digital transformation agency, Somo, has identified that the interest in petrol vehicles is not declining.
Barriers to entry
So if the research indicates a belief that behaviours will shift in the future, why is the UK so behind in electric car adoption in comparison to other parts of the world?
Cost looks to be a major barrier. The research showed that 42% of drivers cited price as one of the biggest reasons preventing them from switching to electric. Despite electric vehicle registration figures rising from 3,500 in 2013 to 227,000 as of August 2019, the UK has withdrawn or downgraded government subsidies: a £2,500 subsidy for plug-in hybrid vehicles was cut altogether, and a grant for pure electric vehicles has been reduced from £4,500 to £3,500. This may then suggest why the UK is falling behind other proactive adopters of electric cars, such as Norway, where, as of March 2019, 58% of all new cars sold were electric.
This deviation from early promises and its impact on driver confidence was further evidenced in the research, with more than two-fifths (41%) saying they believe that, in future, the Government would make owning a car more expensive.
Other barriers to purchase included concerns about driving range availability compared to petrol and diesel models (40%) and having to spend time researching charging point locations (38%).
Opportunities for the industry
Where cost is a major factor to address in helping make owning electric cars more appealing to consumers, the research showed the benefits of visualising the positives in switching using tools and technology crucial to day-to-day lives.
The majority of consumers surveyed said they would be highly likely to use digital tools, such as apps, that would help them understand the benefits of electric vehicles in comparison to petrol/ diesel. They would also be highly likely to use tools that chart the cars’ resale value over time, payment options and journey planning tools, such as the best routes to take to maximise charging opportunities.
The research showed that a key challenge consumers want to see overcome is how they get a charging point installed on their road or place of work. Millions of households in the UK don’t have a drive or a dedicated parking space, so changes in infrastructure to enable charging and making it simple and part of consumers daily routine is critical.