Is Percentage Of UK Motorists Considering Switch To EVs Decreasing?

AUG 4 2018 BY MARK KANE 37

While in early 2017 Venson reported that 85% of motorists would seriously consider buying an electric vehicle in the UK, this summer it turns out that only a fraction of that amount responded the same.

Well, we knew it must be too good to be true. According to a new survey from Venson Automotive Solutions, only 15% out of the 200 said they will definitely be making the switch to an EV or hybrid vehicle when they next purchase a car or choose an alternative company vehicle.

“The findings are a blow to the zero emissions vehicle plan. Just a year ago, 85% of motorists surveyed by Venson said they would seriously consider buying an EV, following news from Total and Shell that they would be installing more charging points. Yet in Venson’s ‘2018 EV Attitudes’ survey only 15% confirmed they actually intend to buy one in the very near future.”

A bigger group (19%) said they refuse to switch until there is no other option available to them. The other 66% – that are between yes or no today – probably will be step by step switching to the EV side when the value proposition improves.

Top deterrents to buy or choose a company electric vehicle
2017 %2018 %
Lack of charging points across the UK6961
Limited mileage range of EVs6145
Cost of charging an EV4239
Lack of understanding of the costs and convenience of owning EV4136
Servicing and repair costs3131
Lack of try before you buy opportunities2417
Cost of insurance1919
Safety concerns regarding batteries1821
Practicalities of being able to charge a car at home38
Lack of clarity in terms of ownership implications as a company car driver12

More insights:

“Of the 200 people surveyed, 38% said that they will consider an EV within their options when they next purchase a car, and 28% confirmed they have no intention of doing so for the next 10-15 years. Almost one in five (19%) said they refuse to switch until there is no other option available to them.

Whilst charging and mileage range remain the biggest deterrents for motorists when making a decision about EV, the good news is that one year on, there is less of a concern about these matters. The number of people concerned about limited mileage fell from 61% in 2017 to 45% in 2018. The only EV concern to grow year on year was ‘safety concerns regarding the battery’, but this remains one of the smallest deterrents for would-be owners.

The news from government that it plans to implement, as soon as possible, a requirement for a charge point infrastructure in new dwellings in England will be well received by motorists. 38% of those surveyed said that the practicalities of being able to charge their vehicle at home was an ownership hurdle.

Although overall more people feel they have a better understanding of the EV ownership experience, concerns relating to the cost implications of owning one, including, servicing, repairs and insurance remain at the same level as those reported in 2017.”

Alison Bell, a Director for Venson Automotive Solutions comments:

“The UK government’s plans to increase the number of zero and ultra low emissions vehicles on the roads, along with its pledge to ban the sale of cars and light duty vans with internal combustion engines by 2040, are bold, but must be supported by the industry and the general public equally.

“Clearly more needs to be done to make information relating to the ownership costs of an EV more readily available. This was an overriding conclusion of the survey we conducted last year, so it’s disappointing to learn that it still needs addressing. Fleet managers, car retailers, manufacturers and insurers all have a part to play in achieving this. Only one in 10 company car drivers said they lacked clarity in terms of EV as a company car option, suggesting that a clear communication strategy in terms of the benefits of an EV for an employee, is making headway in promoting knowledgeable ownership.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was reported as saying*:

“The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure, and the way we travel. We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century.” Change there may be, but will UK motorists be ready or willing to embrace it quite so soon?

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37 Comments on "Is Percentage Of UK Motorists Considering Switch To EVs Decreasing?"

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Not surprising, there is a big difference between ‘considering buying’ and ‘intend to buy’ such that the two commit be compared.

“Percent Of Motorists In UK Who Intend To Switch To EVs Is Decreasing”

Um, wow. That’s very obviously the wrong conclusion. One would expect better critical thinking from both a writer clearly capable of writing well, and whatever IEVs editor gave the article that highly misleading title.

The difference here isn’t any decrease in the number of potential car buyers considering buying a plug-in EV. The difference is how the questions were worded in the surveys!

“That’s very obviously the wrong conclusion. ”

Yup. It is encouraging that so many spotted ‘‘tis fallacious conclusion. Perhaps the real intent was simply to incite a response?

What is more news worthy and an alternate headline is something like “UK EV Sales share to sky rocket 350%+%”

That is based on an April 2018 reported 2% sales share vs the 7.5% Affirmed in this survey. Obviously EVs would also expect to win an undetermined share of the 70+% (100% – (19% + 7.5%)) that have not committed. Over 28% of those committed ( 7.5% / (7.5%+19%)). Stated they would definitely go EV. I’d be happy with rising from 2% to 28% in the short term.

“Perhaps the real intent was simply to incite a response?”

Perhaps. And yet, if one dares to suggest in a comment here that an article might have been given a headline for the purpose of making it… something that rhymes with “flick-mate”… then the comment gets deleted. Every time.

I’m glad that InsideEVs has adopted more professional editorial standards in recent months, in terms of spelling and grammar, and overall writing quality. I hope in the near future to see IEVs also adopt more professional editorial standards towards allowing comments offering criticism of the content of its articles, so long as such comments are not vulgar or deliberately offensive.

The word clickbait is captured by our internal moderation system. It was set up that was as many times there were terribly vulgar comments directed toward authors when there was no intention to make a title in order to mislead people. Nine times out of ten, when that word is in a comment, there are also very nasty things in the comment about IEV. Yes, we are working very hard to raise our standards and improve our site. However, we will not tolerate attacks on authors or editors. We NEVER purposely intend to provide a clickbait title or to mislead our readers. We spend a great deal of time trying to make interesting titles that Google and content partners will like, not copying the same type of title as sources, and causing interest in the readership, all while not attempting to outright “trick” people. You will be very hard-pressed to find completely false, misleading, conniving, fake title on our site, since we don’t allow it. But, we do make mistakes. With that being said, do we have to continue to strive for success? Are clicks important to some degree? Is it our job to pique public interest? Can we put… Read more »

Thank you Steven for your lengthy and detailed response. It’s good to know what the editor-in-chief thinks about these issues.

And also, thank you for rewording the headline!

It really doesn’t matter what the % is. That % is by a factor of x10 higher than what people whould actually do today or next year. All this is doing is giving false hope and maybe a sense of complacency to ev activism. I for one I’m done with giving epany importance to this type of surveys.

I think a major part of the problem is that many people honestly intend to go for an EV — until they visit a dealer…

True, they sure know how to sell cars…ice cars.

“Limited mileage range of EVs” – Well, in the meantime there’re more affordable EVs with more battery capacity and faster charging like the Hyundai Kona Electric…


Where? South Korea? 😉

That survey was about the future. The Kona Electric is even already on the normal product pages of the Hyundai websites in Europe. And AFAIK the first ones in Europe will be delivered in the next weeks – or they even already started 😉


I know, but it’s hard for people answering a survey to account for future vehicles that they haven’t seen or most likely don’t even know exist. I’m just longing for a future where people actually know someone that has an long range EV so they actually get to see and feel it themselves with someone they trust showing it.

Went on sale in the UK on Thursday.

People are seldom truthful in consumer surveys. So one has to be really smart in constructing them and subsequently analyzing the answers. The biggest issue is that most people don’t know what they want until they have it or at least have tried it. So until prices on EVs drops significantly and many more models are offered, survey results will vary a lot depending on rumors, news and subtle wording in the questions.

In absence of BoltEV, there’s really nothing compelling in bottom end. Leaf is crap, but even IoniqEV is a turtle lagging behind gassers of comparable price. If BoltEV is for sale in UK at priced bit under VW GTI (like in Korea and SoCal in early July). I suspect there’d be more takers. Tesla 3 would do even more, but that’s not available for another year or even two years.

There are a lot of new electric models that should be on the market in 2 years, and even more in 4 years. EVs are very close to changing from niche to mainstream. And when that happens, public sentiment will follow.

You are correct that when there are more options, sentiment will change. My point is what’s in UK in lower end currently are crap. That’s reflected in current sentiment.

The new LEAF is not crap. It is an excellent vehicle for city and mid range trips. It is not a long distance road tripping vehicle. I’ve had the Gen 1 (2015) and now the Gen 2 (2018). When lease renews in 4 years I anticipate the market will offer a lot of compelling choices, with range, fast charging, price and size being the main differentiators.

Compare against Bolt or even IoniqEV, and Leaf is crap with more than one DCFC per day result in much lower power charging and other issues. Even worse, compare Leaf to comparably priced gas cars; it is just awful. This is why crap Leaf seeming “excellent” in UK turns people away from EV.

Comparable gas cars….So… $30K Leaf is awful compared to a Hond Civic but $38K Bolt is excellent value compared to Honda Fit? Hmm, guess you reckon Bolt’s peppy acceleration makes it a VW GTi competitor but I’m pretty sure the types shopping for an iconic/cult car like VW GTi would even consider a mundane looking compact hatchback like Bolt. It compares to a (non existent)fast version of Honda Fit at best if without that car’s excellent and versatile interior.

The Bolt EV could have been a real car if Mary Berra was willing to actually compete with Tesla. Fix the rear suspension and the plastic interior for starters.

Seriously? The Ioniq with less than half the battery capacity beats the Bolt in every way. Imagine what it will do when they upgrade the battery.

I think the Ionic is a bit slower but otherwise superior to Bolt

I don’t get this article… I think it’s conclusion is backwards.

If 85% say they “would seriously consider buying an EV” and a subsequent poll a year later shows that 15% of those 85% (or 12.75% net) say “they will definitely be making the switch to an EV or hybrid vehicle“ that’s a good thing and does not mean that the remainder of the 85% no longer would “consider” buying an EV.

Few people will make a “definite” commitment about a purchase decision until purchase time.

The EV sales are increasing regardless.

Yup. Thanks for that reality check! 🙂

I am in the UK, and there are far too many benefits to driving electric for me to ignore now. Personally cannot wait to ditch the petrol. Just a matter of having the money. Turns out buying a house is expensive!

I disagree with Venson Automotive Solutions conclusion. Right now (today) there are very few BEVs being manufactured and most are not compelling. In 10-15 years there will a wider selection to choose from. The single most determining factor to choosing a car is the “test drive!” Once you drive a compelling BEV like a Tesla and compare it to the 20th Century warmed over ICE age vehicles the difference becomes a fundamental truth.

I agree a BEV is not a perfect vehicle for everyone, in every situation but a spirited test drive in a compelling BEV is very persuasive. Not only will there be more and better BEV/ZEVs in coming years but they will get cheaper, charging infrastructure will expand, charging time will decrease, the power grid will will get stronger and cleaner. Imagine when solar power roofs, and cells mature and it further reduces the cost difference between electricity and gasoline.

Sample of 200 is not representative from the sociological point of view. It has to be at least 5 times larger to provide relevant estimations. The results are garbage.

Yeah, that’s also what jumped out at me… way too small a pool to survey.

Instead of calling it garbage, give the number. What is confidence interval for having 200 vs 5 times as many? You will find that it’s not 5 times narrower confidence.

Hard to believe “Cost of charging an EV” comes in 3rd place as a deterrent. Is the price of electricity so high in the UK?

Here in Canada my electricity cost compared to gas cost is roughly 1 to 5 for highway driving and 1 to 10 for city driving. The cost of charging should be an incentive, not a deterrent.

I guess this goes with the 4th item on the list about the lack of understanding.

No, it just shows that responfdents to this survey had no clue about how much electricity it takes to charge up an EV or what the cost per mile is or how it compares with the cost per mile of petrol. They just think “my electricity bill is high” and use that to go on.

In the UK you might pay about half of what a diesel costs when going with an EV in terms of fuel costs.

Probably due to all the misinformation by the anti-EV fossi fool crowd. I often times here statements from them saying “your electric bill will go up”. I mean sure, even a 1 cent increase is technically an increase, but none of them dare to actually compare the costs, they just use vague words to try to incite uncertainty.

Sorry, but a consumer survey of 200 is pretty woeful.