69% Of UK Motorists Would Not Even Consider Buying An Electric Vehicle


200 Buyers Purchased a Nissan LEAF From This Salesman

200 Buyers Purchased a Nissan LEAF From This Salesman

Mark Goodie, The Former Top of the Pops Host Gets The Keys To The First Ever British-Built LEAF On June 1st, 2013

Mark Goodie, The Former Top of the Pops Host Gets The Keys To The First Ever British-Built LEAF On June 1st, 2013

Sixty-nine percent of UK drivers would not consider buying an electric car, according to a survey conducted by Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Of course, that means that 31 % might consider buying an electric car, which is a promising figure for sure.

As IAM states in its press release:

“The most important factors deterring motorists from buying an electric vehicle were recharging (40 per cent), the distanced travelled on a battery (39 per cent) and cost (33 per cent).”

“Currently, less than one per cent of drivers already own an electric car or van.”

“However, not all motorists are put off the idea of an electric vehicle. Thirty-seven per cent said that lower cost would encourage them to buy an electric vehicle as well as the distance travelled (20 per cent), widely available recharging points (17 per cent) and environmentally friendly (16 per cent).”

So, some work needs to be done to get these potential future electric vehicle owners onboard.  Most importantly, vehicle costs have to still come down.

IAM chief executive Simon Best stated:

“It is clear that the government have a long way to go to convince drivers that electric vehicles really are the future. On the positive side drivers are not worried about safety or comfort issues, but range anxiety and charging infrastructure remain real stumbling blocks.”

Range will improve over time as battery advances come into the mix and the charging infrastructure continues to grow daily.  Both of these stumbling blocks seem like they’ll be non-issues before the end of the decade.  So, hopefully electric vehicle uptake will increase sharply in the coming years as these remaining stumbling blocks are knocked over one by one.

Category: General


43 responses to "69% Of UK Motorists Would Not Even Consider Buying An Electric Vehicle"
  1. Anon says:

    How many people thought they were going to buy a cellphone, or computer?

    Most can’t do without them now…

    Consumers are a fickle lot.

    1. David Murray says:

      Exactly.. that 69% is supposed to sound pessimistic by the people doing the study.. but I see it the opposite. I see 39% of a population that will seriously consider buying one.. and the rest will eventually follow 10 or 20 years later once they see the advantages and see them all over the roads.

      1. Gibber says:

        Yep. I think we have all seen it here in the States, one early adopter leads to friends/co-workers joining the BEV club. Same should be true with the Brits.

  2. Alaa says:

    They should learn from Norway.

  3. Mikael says:

    And this is why the PHEV’s and EREV’s will be such an important part of the equation of getting people to drive electric.

    And it’s also obvious why it will take a Model 3 for pure BEV’s to go mainstream. It will adress the price, range, charging time and charging station network.

    1. Spec9 says:

      But why did the Volt/Ampera do so poorly in the UK? High price? Where there no incentives? Do the incentives only apply to BEVs and not PHEVs? Anyone know the answer to this?

      1. Mikael says:

        We have answered that many times. High prices, poor car, big on the outside but small on the inside, from a low cost brand (and even worse when being from Chevrolet which is the lowest ranked brand among consumers in a number of European countries) etc. etc.
        It was basically a car where it being partly electric was the only positive.

        1. Spec9 says:

          High price . . . OK.
          Poor car . . . No.
          big on the outside but small on the inside .. . seems small and small to me.
          from a low cost brand . . . Well, that is UK snobbishness. And does that apply to both Chevy & Opel?

          I think much of the problem here is what is in my other post . . . people are not very informed on the matters and are relying on out-dated stereotypes.

          1. Mikael says:

            Look, you may have your opinion but based on european wants and needs the Volt/Ampera wasn’t satisfying, even with a lower price.
            It had way to many flaws and compromises and add them together and you get a poor car.

            Big on the outside is because of the outer dimensions, which are a pain in the ass in many european countries (parking, narrow roads etc. etc.). If you buy a large car like that (outer dimensions) you have a lot of requirements for it because then it’s supposed to be the family car in which you can fit the whole family, luggage and maybe a baby stroller or so.

            Chevrolet is much worse than Opel as a brand. And it goes for basically all of Europe. I remember reading a consumer report from the Netherlands where Chevrolet were dead last of all brands sold there when the owners gave their opinion of their car(s).
            There is a good reason why Chevrolet now has pulled out of Europe, it’s not about snobishness it’s about poor quality and extremely dissatisfied customers all over the continent.

            1. TomArt says:

              In the case of the Volt, you’re talking about a set of features, not poor quality.

            2. TomArt says:

              And it totally cracks me up that the Volt is considered big – I know Europe is old and cramped, where many streets, at least in the oldest parts of towns and cities, remain largely unchanged since the Medieval period (except for maybe modern paving). But still, I can’t help but laugh at the idea that the Volt is somehow a big car.

              1. Rob says:

                “I know Europe is old and cramped HA HA HA!
                What a strange point of view!
                I’m guessing you’re from the you ess of aye?

            3. Spec9 says:

              How does the large on the outside and small on the side work? Do you feel that the Volt has abnormally thick walls?

              1. Mint says:

                Only 4 seats and a smallish trunk prove the point to me.

      2. Mikael says:

        Oh… and the incentives are for both PHEV’s and BEV’s in the UK so you would get the same £5k for a Leaf as an Ampera or Outlander PHEV.

  4. Mike says:

    Go ahead do nothing,
    Exxon and Total SA to spend billions cracking tar sand for oil. Eat Pollution.

    1. Mikael says:

      I wonder what urges you to spew that nonsense. And especially on articles from European countries which are doing the most to reduce the oil needed for cars.

      And you do know that Total SA have stopped their plan on Canadian tar sand oil extraction?

      With the motivation: “Joslyn is facing the same challenge that most of the industry worldwide is in the sense that the costs are continuing to inflate when the oil price and specifically the netbacks from the oil sands are remaining stable at best,” he said. That is squeezing margins and “cannot be sustainable in the long-term.”

      The economics are not there. And why are they not there? Well, one big reason is because of very high improvements in efficiency for cars in Europe plus increased use of renewable fuel which have lead to over capacity for refineries and current easily avaliable oil is more than enough without crazy tar sand projects.

    2. Mikael says:

      I advice you to take a flight to the US or Canada and start protesting at the source of the problem.
      If you really want to do something that is, “do nothing” countries like Canada could need a good kick in the ass and you seem to have the energy even if it is not really focused in the right direction.

  5. pete g says:

    One thing I remember from my marketing class. No realy means maybe. Maybe means yes, and yes means right now. An other thing did they say No car I need a truck, or No I do not like green cars and ham. I do not like them sam I am.

    1. Spec9 says:

      ABC . . . Always Be Closing. 😉

    2. TomArt1894 says:

      Good ol’ belligerent Capitalism…

      …but, yeah, that marketing rule of thumb is true – we humans are easily talked out of our money. As George Carlin once said, “Nail two things together that were never nailed together before, and some shmuck will buy it.” His “Advertising Lullaby” is brilliant – I’m sure it’s on YouTube.

  6. Spec9 says:

    I find this quite disappointing. They need some education:
    “The most important factors deterring motorists from buying an electric vehicle were:
    1) recharging (40 per cent) – You recharge WHILE YOU SLEEP!

    2) the distanced travelled on a battery (39 per cent) – You live on an ISLAND!

    3) and cost (33 per cent).” – You pay ~$8/gallon for gas!

    A Tesla Model S solves (1) and (2) but obviously is very expensive (fails at (3)). A shorter range BEV with a DC fast charger largely handles (1) & (2). A PHEV pretty much solves all but (3)

    1. pete g says:

      Look at #1 again. Charging at home while you sleep. So before you buy an electric car you’re going to buy a home. If you have a home. You probably have a family. If you have a family you are going to want a vehicle big enough for your family. That is why the ampera failed 2 door small back seat.

      1. pete g says:

        I take that back. For a PHEV to succeed in europe it needs to be a 4 door hatchback that has diesel as a backup fuel and room for 5.

      2. Thomas J. Thias says:

        A two door, small back seat?

        Twilight Zone Theme song playing…

        The Amazing Opel Ampera Extended Range Electric Vehice always has been a four door!

        The volume of the rear seating area is greater by a small but measurable margin to the BMWi3 and the BMW 4, a four passenger sedan.


        Thomas J. Thias



    2. Mikael says:

      And an Outlander PHEV, Golf GTE, Passat PHEV and Audi A3 e-tron solves all three of them (with cost relative to what you intended to pay and inteded to get out of it).

      1. pete g says:

        Outlander is selling very well

    3. TomArt1894 says:

      Yeah, you have to be careful about #3. As we’ve fumed about before in these pages, opponents try to compare a Model S to something like a Camry and say that the Model S is overpriced and therefore uncompetitive.

      When setting up these polls, if they care about accurate results, one has to phrase the question such that people are making appropriate mental comparisons when answering the question of cost.

      I’m glad that someone pointed out that Chevy is not viewed well in many parts of Europe – I keep forgetting about those things, and focus on the merits of the vehicle. Brand bias is a big part of the picture, particularly in the US or anywhere where your emotional identity or social status, etc., is at least partially defined by the vehicle you drive.

      1. TomArt says:

        There, I did it again – it’s still me, the 1894 is part of a username from a completely different site…

    4. Thomas J. Thias says:

      One Giant +1


      Thomas J. Thias

    5. Mikael says:

      Taking a trip from London to Glasgow and back with a Leaf would mean somwhere around 17 charging stops at 30 minutes each.
      Plus there is one stretch where the distance is too far between the fast chargers that you would need an alternative way of charging.

      1 and 2 are definitely of concern.

      And 3 goes for most PHEV’s, EREV’s and the Tesla. $8 per gallon is not of much help since there are cheap diesels with very high mpg’s so it’s hard to regain anything but a small price difference.

      1. Spec9 says:

        But how often do you back & forth between those? And when you do, why not take a flight or a train?

        Or just get the Opel Ampera.

    6. David Murray says:

      I wonder how many of those people concerned about charging simply do not have anywhere to charge? We have a similar problem around here in Texas. I know so many people that would like to drive an EV but live in an apartment or condo and simply have nowhere to plug in.


    “31% (of future UK car purchasers) might consider buying an electric car” as their next vehicle!

    Great news as at least 1/3 of people in this survey are aware of benefits EVs offer. This is huge opportunity in a market where fewer than 1% currently own an EV. Even if just 5-10% follow through, that is a large number of EVs.

    1. TomArt says:


    2. Omar Sultan says:


      Marketing 101 would tell you to go close the 31% and worry about the balance later. For some reason, human nature is to go chase the 69%.


  8. Trace says:

    “While the Nissan LEAF is a fine car. It is most definitely NOT the future”- Jeremy Clarkson on BBC’s Top Gear

    Perhaps they listen to him too much.

  9. Anderlan says:

    Elon Musk said it well, and I’m sure Steve Jobs would agree: “Consumers don’t know what they don’t know.”

  10. Anderlan says:

    In early 2007 a majority of cell phone consumers didn’t want a large, one-big-touchscreen phone.

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      I just bought LG G3 cell phone and it has been criticized that its quad HD screen has too many pixels that eye can resolve! What a luddites.

      My guess is also that exactly 100 % of those 69 % have never test driven Tesla Model S or even sat on back seat.

  11. Thomas J. Thias says:

    Nearly 40% Of Luxury Car Owners In UK Interested In Electric Cars-

    Now this is the way to do the headline!

    “[…[24,227 Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz owners in the UK were asked in an online survey about their perspective on electric cars, and nearly 40% indicated they had some interest in buying one or would consider it.[…]”

    24,227 surveyed, eh? About 23,000 more then in the UK Transportation Dept. report sourced in Eric Lovedays’ report. I’ll bet most of these respondents don’t know what a bus is in contrast to the 963 polled above.

    Via | Cleantechnia | Jake Richardson

    Link Goes To Cleantechnica Article-



    Thomas J. Thias



  12. Thomas J. Thias says:

    My Turn-

    David Murray
    Brian Henderson

    Very Big +1

    Thanks to the above commentators for the sensible and gentle responces consideridering what I’ve read in some of the posts here following Eric Lovedays story.

    To the above listed posters, it wasn’t so long ago that the #antiEVZombies outnumbered me 15 to 1 on genric comment walls.

    So, my friends,

    August 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    “We have answered that many times. High prices, poor car, big on the outside but small on the inside, from a low cost brand (and even worse when being from Chevrolet which is the lowest ranked brand among consumers in a number of European countries) etc. etc.
    It was basically a car where it being partly electric was the only positive.”

    Pete g-
    “August 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Look at #1 again. Charging at home while you sleep. So before you buy an electric car you’re going to buy a home. If you have a home. You probably have a family. If you have a family you are going to want a vehicle big enough for your family. That is why the ampera failed 2 door small back seat.”


    Mikael/ Pete g

    1) Are you well known Global Automotive Reporting Firms?

    2) Can I subscribe to your published data?

    3) Do either of you have substancial world wide following in the statistics and opinions that the two of you present on these pages?

    Please let me set the record straight-

    The Eric Loveday lead today quotes a charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (the IAM) that supports the raising of driving and riding standards and promotes campaigns for increased on-road skills.
    IAM supports and represent motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists through practical driving and riding programmes and urge all road users to act more responsibly and safely.

    IAMs’ aims are to inform and influence government and decision makers to ensure that road safety remains a relevant topic and receives the focus and investment that it requires.

    Their commercial business subsidiary, IAM Drive and Survive, promotes occupational driver improvement throughout the fleet/business community

    This feeder from IAM comes from a questionable study completed by the UK Department of Transportation and published June 19, 2014.

    Surprisingly, the study was based on the polling of just 963 individuals of which 33%, almost 1/3 of the respondents used public transit on a regular basis, and are understandibley more unlikely to consider buying a car let alone an Electric Fueled Vehicle!

    Rate Of Mass Transit Use By Responders-

    12% at least once a day

    9% at least 3 times a week

    12% at lease once or twice a week.

    My Rebuttal-

    The Global Succeess of the GM Voltec Platform-

    More then 84,000 GM Voltec Platform Vehicles have been sold globally of which over 15,500 have been exported under the Opel, Vauxhall and Holden badges starting in the spring of 2012, just some 29 months ago.

    Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle and its variants are built at the DetHamtrack Plant in south east Michigan, USA.

    The Chevy Volt EREV is currently rated the equal in overall ratings to the Mercedes Benz C-Class by the influencial US News and World Report out of 21 Best Upscale Midsized Cars in the world and is the “Best Cars for the Money” receipeint in this class.

    Link Goes To US News Best Cars- Upscale Midsized-


    The Chevy Volt EREV and its variants by proxy are one of the most awarded autmobiles of all time and was Motor Trend and Automobile Magazines Car of the Year in 2011.

    Link Goes To The Chevy Volt EREV Awards List-

    Compiled By Writer Ken Green Burridge on November 4th. 2013


    Consumers Reports have rated the Chevy Volt EREV the number one car in owner satisfaction back to back in 2011and 2012.

    The Chevy Volt EREV was knocked of this number one position in 2013 by another Electric Fueled Vehicle, the Tesla Model S!

    -Near 70% of UK residents own their own homes so plugging into the mains, refueling at night would not be an issue.

    The cost of a gallon of gas, United States averages $3.50 per gallon.

    Personally, I have saved $200 in fuel costs every month since March, 2012.
    This is after my bout a buck a day in Electric Fuel Costs!

    At over 32,500 robust miles driven I have used only 49 gallons of gas!

    Link Goes To my OnStar Data Page-


    In the USA the Chevy Volt EREV is advertised by Chevrolet in their ongoing National Campaign at $269.00 a month. This is a staggering payment drop due to engineering and manugacturing cost reductions over the 5 model runs and down from $399.00 when leasing returned in the spring of 2011.

    Were I to lease now, saving $200 a month in fuel costs, my Net Cost to Drive a 2014 Chevy Volt EREV would be less then $100.00 a month.

    Elon Musk using his Tesla S, “Effective Monthly Payment” Formula calls this angle, the “True Cost to Own.”

    If it is true that the cost of a gallon of petrol is pushing $8 a gallon equivelent in the UK then the fuel cost offset should result in dramatic savings even though the majority of tiny UK cars are all ready fuel efficent petrol burners or use lung threatening diesel fuel.

    Finally, on the obviously uninformed claim of, “Not Enough Battery Range”:

    “The average total daily commuting distance has dropped from 18.5 miles in 2008 to 16.7 miles – a fall of 10 per cent – as people live slightly closer to their workplaces.”


    While the Daily Mail headline screams a rise in long range commuting, the quote above shows that 50 % of commuters, UK are driving less then 20 miles a day, well within the range of any mainstream Electric Fueled Vehicle available globally today.

    Link Goes To The Daily Mail-


    What a wonderful world this is. Now pushing more then 500,000 Electric Fueled Vehicles globally.

    This stunning amount of transportation sector penetration has occured in just 32 months since the Chevy Volt EREV and Nissan LEAF left limited states, US beta marketing and national sales, US, began in November of 2011.

    My Very Best-

    Thomas J. Thias



  13. Rob says:

    I’d have to put myself in the 69%.
    I wouldn’t buy an electric car, but I’m getting very interested in building my own…