Research by electric vehicle insurer NFU Mutual suggests that concerns about electric vehicle range and charging are overblown when compared to the reality of owning an EV, and that non-EV owners are overlooking some key benefits of the technology.
NFU Mutual, which offers insurance tailored to plug-in and hybrid EV owners, recently conducted a UK-wide survey of 1,107 people to find out attitudes towards EVs.
The results showed a gap between the expectation and reality of owning an EV, suggesting that common expected issues with EVs are overblown when compared to the reality of ownership and that non-EV owners are overlooking some benefits to EVs.
Key concerns surrounding EVs include range anxiety – the worry that batteries will run flat before a charge point can be found – and the time taken to recharge. Asked what the main barriers to EV ownership were, 58% of all survey respondents selected battery range, 58% were concerned about a lack of charging points, and 44% said the time taken to recharge was a barrier.
However, survey respondents who already own an EV are more bullish about these issues. Less than a third said battery range was a barrier to EV ownership and just 36% said the time taken to recharge was a concern. A lack of charging points was seen a greater issue, with 41% highlighting this, but this is seen as a much less significant barrier to the EV-owning community than those who do not currently own an EV.
This suggests that the reality of owning an EV outmatches the expectations, and that the barriers to ownership are smaller than they are made out to be.
EV owners also highlighted some benefits of EV ownership which were not first in mind for the population at large.
Three quarters of EV owners noted the lower running costs of EVs was a benefit, compared to 57% of the general population.
24% of EV owners – over double the proportion of the general population – also said ease of use was an incentive to switch to an EV, with 13% claiming EVs are “more fun” than petrol and diesel vehicles.
As supply chain issues continue to impact new car stocks, almost a quarter of EV owners said that resale value was an incentive to buy, compared to 6% of the general population.
Andrew Chalk, car insurance specialist at NFU Mutual, said, “It’s common wisdom that the grass is not always greener, but in the case of electric vehicles it would appear that the grass is greener – in more ways than one.
“What these results suggest is that people’s perceptions of electric vehicles are generally no longer in tune with the reality of owning one. Technology and infrastructure have both continued to rapidly improve in recent years, meaning the legitimate concerns of a few years ago – range anxiety and charging provision chief among them – are no longer insurmountable barriers to switching to an EV.
“Purchase cost remains a barrier to purchasing any new vehicle, but here again EV owners see the resale value of their vehicles as a significant benefit, one which does not occur to non-EV owners.