More drivers than ever plan to ‘go electric’ when they next change their cars

Nearly eight-in-10 drivers think that pure electric cars are still too expensive when compared to conventional vehicles of a similar size, but a steadily increasing proportion are planning to choose one when they next change their car.

Research from the latest RAC Report on Motoring suggests 9% of the 3,000 respondents to the study said they intended to ‘go electric’ next time around, up from 6% in 2019 and 3% a year earlier, which the RAC says clearly highlights drivers’ “growing willingness to opt for a zero-emissions model”.

“But with the current retail price of new pure battery electric vehicles significantly higher than their petrol or diesel-powered equivalents,” the researchers say, “they remain out of many drivers’ price ranges, prompting most to say they would like more financial help from the Government.”

The RAC found more than half of drivers polled (53%) said they would like to see VAT on zero-emission vehicles either cut or abolished entirely, with a slightly smaller proportion (48%) favouring a scrappage scheme to make switching from a conventionally powered one to a battery-electric model affordable. Three-in-10 motorists asked (30%) favour an increase to the current Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) of £1,000, taking it up to £4,000, which the RAC says is arguably the most straightforward policy change the Government could implement if it chose to.

“Making vehicles more affordable for drivers is not the only thing that could entice drivers into a pure electric model next time around,” the researchers report. “Motorists also want to know they can charge these vehicles up easily when they are away from home, something that will be vital for the estimated third for whom home-charging is not an option. More than four-in-10 drivers (43%) say they want the Government to set a binding national target for access to public chargepoints, such as ensuring 95% of the population live no further than five miles from the nearest chargepoint. Three-in-10 (28%) meanwhile believe the price of charging at public chargers should be capped.”

More broadly, the study suggests the pandemic appears to have left its mark on the car-buying public, with only one in every 10 motorists (11%) expecting to upgrade to another vehicle in the next 12 months – a sharp fall on the 14% recorded in 2019 and 18% a year earlier. Just over half of drivers (51%) do not expect to change their current vehicle within the next three years – well up on the last year’s 43%, and 35% in 2018. Meanwhile, a third of drivers (33%) in 2020 either don’t plan to get a new car, or do not know when they will replace their current vehicle, up from 25% a year ago.

(Picture – Yay Images)

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