The electric car market is growing rapidly. In 2010 there was a market launch of mass-production electric cars and since then it has continued to rise. The UK government has plans to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and even hybrid cars by 2035. The change was initially supposed to come in by 2040, but experts have warned that this may be too late if the UK wants to hit its target of emitting almost zero carbon by 2050, hence the UK government bringing it forward by 5 years. This future ban surely means that more and more people will decide to switch to an electric car before this year in preparation for the ban.
Here at Insurance Revolution, we wanted to get an idea on what the general population's opinions are when it comes to electric cars. This is why we conducted our own survey asking 1,000 people to what extent they either agree or disagree with the following statements;
- I have an electric car and I am happy with it
- I have an electric car and I am unhappy with it because it takes too long to charge
- I would like an electric car but the cost is a barrier
- I would like an electric car but I do not believe there are enough charging points in the UK yet
- I do not want an electric car because you cannot travel long distances
Electric cars - Public opinion
We can break down the answers to the survey questions below;
Only 9% are happy with their electric car
Of everyone we surveyed that does own an electric car, less than a tenth of people stated they are happy with the car. This potentially shows that many improvements need to be made to electric cars, before the government ban comes into play. What are the reasons people are unhappy with the electric car? We can see some of these answers below.
Charge time not the issue
The charge time of the electric car does not appear to be the issue when it comes to electric car owners being unhappy with their vehicle. Only 9.2% of people here agreed that the reason they are unhappy with their vehicle is because it takes too long to charge. At the moment, as well as plenty of upsides to owning an electric car, there are some disadvantages which may cause people to be unhappy with their vehicle. One of these reasons could be the worry if a full battery is enough to reach your destination, and will there even be a charging point at that destination. On average, a typical electric car can be charged from empty to full in under 8 hours. Of course this can vary between models but the charge time is clearly not one of the big problems that owners have with their electric car.
Cost of electric cars putting people off buying
According to our survey a massive 43.9% of people agree that they would like an electric car but the cost is a barrier. This may not always be the case though, with electric cars becoming more popular prices have started dropping and becoming more realistic. All cars are put into insurance groups, 1-50, with 50 being the most expensive to insure. There are many good, reliable electric cars now that are in insurance groups 10-11. Many people may not be aware how affordable some electric cars are nowadays and assume that they are too expensive.
Opinions mixed on UK charging points
Opinions are divided on whether there are enough charging points in the UK. Around 38% of people said that the fact there are not enough charging points in the UK would stop them buying an electric car. 28% of people disagreed with this and the rest were not sure. There is no high majority opinion on this. I think it may be the case that it is not really common knowledge how many charging points are around the UK, and where they are. The fact is there are now 30,000 charging stations at 11,000 different locations in the UK. There were 10,000 charging points added in 2019 alone, so it is becoming easier to keep on top of the battery, and it will continue to do so. Maybe if this information was more easily accessible and was common knowledge, there would be more people already switching to an electric car.
Distance is not a problem
Looking at the answers to this question, only 16% would not consider an electric car because they believe you cannot travel long distances in them. Most people seem to be aware that most electric cars now do not have an issue with mileage. It may be true that on average a standard petrol or diesel car can travel further on a full tank than an electric car can travel on a full battery, but the electric cars mileage capabilities are nothing to be frowned at. On average, with a full battery electric cars can travel close to 200 miles, and it can be topped up at your home every night. If you travel less than 200 miles a day, which most people would, you should never have an issue with the miles. On the occasion you make a long trip there are many charging stations scattered around the country so you shouldn’t ever have to deal with an empty battery. Many electric cars can do more than 200 miles on a full tank, Tesla’s for example have a range of models, many of them claim they can travel up to 300 miles or more on a full battery. With technology always advancing, it is likely that the batteries in electric cars will continue to improve.
Attitudes to electric cars in the UK
Looking at the results of our survey there does seem to be mixed opinions on electric cars. Especially from those who do not own electric cars. It might be fair to say that the mixed opinions from non electric car owners may be due to lack of information that is out there. The improvements being made in the electric car market do not appear to be common knowledge, with many people assuming that there are not enough charging points around, or the battery will not take them to their destination. While it may be the case that there have been many improvements to the electric car owner experience, this does not mean that it is perfect. Only 9% of electric car owners we surveyed were happy with their car. There is a long time to go until the government ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars. So you would think that by this time, with advances in technology, owning an electric car will be a much better experience.
Size of the electric car market in the UK
The electric car market is growing. As mentioned above there was a market launch of mass produced electric cars in the UK in 2010. Ever since this date the number of electric cars on UK roads increases every year. You can see from the charts below the comparison between 2019 and 2020 alone. These figures have come from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The figures show the comparison between electric car registrations from the beginning of 2020 up to June and the beginning of 2019 up to June.
You can see in all but one category of electric cars there have been plenty more registrations than the previous year. According to a survey conducted by ‘Fully Charged’ only 1 in 10 people said they would go back to a petrol or diesel car after owning an electric car. There certainly seems to be a trend of more and more people switching to electric cars.
Where are electric cars most popular?
When it comes to which country electric cars are most popular, Norway is leading the way. In 2019 the market share of electric cars in Norway was a massive 55.9%. The country with the second largest market share of electric vehicles is Iceland with 22.9%. The top ten countries when it comes to the market share of electric cars have all shown increases in the last 3 years. The data below comes from Wikipedia;
Other than the top 4 countries, the market share of electric cars is still relatively small. There is clearly a trend of the numbers of electric cars on the road rising but it still has a while to go before the majority of the cars on the road are electric powered.
We can see the improvements which are being made in the UK when it comes to the electric car market, but the UK are not one of the leading countries when it comes to the market share of electric vehicles. In fact the UK would be 15th if they were included in the list above, with a market share of 2.9% in 2019. One thing that is clear though is that electric cars are the future. They are not a passing fad. Improvements will most likely continue to be made and in the not so distant future the sale of standard cars will be banned. If you are someone that prefers a petrol or a diesel car, you should enjoy it while it lasts.