Is the UK ready for the electric vehicle revolution? New survey explores Brits’ understanding of EV signs and symbols

As the electric vehicle (EV) revolution continues to gain momentum, the UK stands at the brink of a pivotal era in transport. However, although the Government has pledged £500 million towards EV charging hubs, a new survey from Saga Insurance reveals while enthusiasm for EVs is on the rise, knowledge gaps are prominent among drivers regarding the signs, symbols and rules.

In a survey of over 1,200 UK drivers, Saga unveiled several key findings that underscore the need for increased awareness and education as the nation transitions to an electric future.

First, while looking at motoring knowledge, a notable 75% of respondents demonstrated their prowess, confidently identifying all road signs within the highway code. Regional nuances were evident – from 67% in Scotland to 80% in both Northern Ireland and the North East of England. Additionally, men were more likely than women (78% versus 71%) to express confidence in highway code.

Navigating the complexities of modern motoring

As the survey delved deeper, it became evident that the EV landscape held a few knowledge discrepancies. A majority (57%) of UK drivers admitted they’re unfamiliar with dashboard and roadside symbols specific for EVs, highlighting a gap in understanding. Only 37% of drivers correctly identified the ‘eco mode’ dashboard symbol, while a mere 18% were able to identify the ‘electrical fault’ symbol. And overall, over half (52%) of respondents said they couldn’t identify any of these symbols.

The importance of EV symbol recognition

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey revealed 89% of EV drivers said that familiarity with EV symbols is important. Interestingly, 74% of conventional vehicle drivers agreed.

While individuals aged 35 to 44 showed the highest agreement rate at 86% regarding the significance of EV symbols, those aged 55 and above, a substantial majority, totalling 67%, held the same view.

And if you’re up for an electric road trip in Britain, our survey found that drivers in the West Midlands placed the greatest importance on familiarising yourself with EV signs and symbols, with 82% agreeing it’s important.

The ULEZ effect

The survey revealed that familiarity with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) symbol increased with age, with 81% of those aged 55 and above correctly interpreting its meaning.

A number of UK cities, including Birmingham and London, have introduced Clean Air Zones (CAZ). This means that drivers whose vehicles do not meet emissions standards need to pay a charge if they enter the designated zone. Perhaps the most widely reported of these schemes is London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which was first introduced in 2019 and has since expanded across the capital. These zones have attracted ample media attention, triggering strong feelings both in support of and against the scheme.

Looking further into the results, it appears CAZ schemes may have a role to play in increasing public awareness of EV rules and regulations – with West Midlands (54%) and Greater London (63%) reporting the majority of drivers with ‘EV awareness.’ This suggests that Clean Air Zones, such as London’s ULEZ, could play a pivotal role in elevating public understanding of EV regulations.

Saga said: “The survey’s results spotlight an evolving landscape of electric vehicles in the UK as well as draw attention to the need to enhance public understanding of EV signs and symbols. As the nation pushes towards its 2035 ban of new petrol and diesel cars, Saga encourages drivers to engage with this change.

“As the electric vehicle revolution gains momentum, bridging this knowledge gap will be vital in ensuring a smooth transition towards a sustainable transportation future.”


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