Electric cars are too expensive for most people, new survey finds

4 months ago

Most people reckon pure-electric cars are too pricey, according to a new survey.

Nearly four out of five drivers (78 per cent) quizzed for an RAC poll said they cost too much.

The motoring services firm said the retail price of new pure EVs was still ‘significantly higher’ than their petrol or diesel counterparts, which put them out of reach of many people.


However, it also found an increase in the number of those planning to switch to electric next time they change their car – up from six per cent in 2019 to nine per cent in 2020.

More than half (53 per cent) of the 3,068 motorists who took part in the survey said they’d like to see VAT on zero-emission vehicles removed or reduced.

Meanwhile, nearly half (48 per cent) wanted a scrappage scheme to make switching more affordable.

Thirty per cent liked the idea of a £1,000 increase in the plug-in car grant to £4,000.


The ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars and vans has been brought forward from 2040 to 2030, and green number plates that make it easier to identify electric cars were launched in December, as reported by Car Dealer.

RAC data insight spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘The single biggest barrier to a driver choosing an electric car over one powered by petrol or diesel has to be cost.

‘Although good finance leasing deals and offers such as free home charging for a set period can help, it appears to be the case that the price of many new EVs remains prohibitively high for a lot of people.

‘Most drivers are keen to see more financial help from the government to bring costs down.

‘If the government really wants to stimulate demand for electric vehicles quickly, then it either has to boost the plug-in car grant or remove, or cut, VAT for a fixed period of time.’

He added: ‘A healthy market for new electric cars in the UK will also have another major benefit.

‘It will mean more EVs make their way on to the second-hand market, improving the affordability of zero-emission models for everyone.’

However, AA president Edmund King believes the price barrier of EVs was ‘fast crumbling’.

He said ‘switching to electric becomes a no-brainer’ when savings from not filling up with petrol or diesel and exemptions from city access fees such as London’s Congestion Charge were taken into account.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: ‘There has never been a better time to make the switch.

‘With the range of zero-emission models expanding, together with our investment of over £2.8bn, we’re charging up the electric car revolution to create a cleaner, greener transport system for all.’

John Bowman

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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