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More electric vehicle education required

Published: 27 March 2019 - Carly Wills

Lack of education is a major barrier to electric vehicle (EV) adoption, new research from Encore Digital Media and Savanta reveals, with very low awareness of EVs (18 per cent) but a high appetite to find out more (59 per cent). 

In the nationally representative study, 2,000 UK drivers were surveyed.

The study shows key barriers to EV adoption include lack of education, infrastructure and higher cost:

  • Although four out of 10 could name Tesla, the next best known EV brand was BMW named by just 18 per cent and other brands struggling to get above 15 per cent 
  • Thirty-one per cent of the population believe that electric vehicles need more infrastructure with recharge time (42 per cent) and lack of information (34 per cent) being other key barriers
  • All age groups consider the EV expensive - average car spend is £14,000 whereas the average cost of an electric vehicles falls around £32,000
  • Only 11 per cent of all respondents claimed to be happy to pay upwards of £35,000 for an EV

The study found that EV misconceptions are still rife with overhalf of the audience (53 per cent) not knowing you can charge an EV with a normal household plug. One in five of the audience didn’t know that you don’t pay road tax if you have an electric car. Two thirds also didn’t know that the battery is charged every time an EV driver hits the brakes.

Three distinct purchasing groups emerged in the research:18-24 year olds who are open and interested in EV; 25-54 year olds who are not averse but do have distinct concerns; and 55+ year olds who are significantly harder to convince.

Just over half of over 55s (54 per cent) class the technology as experimental and seven out of 10 deem it unproven. Even with an improvement in technology, less than a third (28 per cent) would consider buying an EV. In contrast, the most receptive group are 18-24 year olds with two out of three interested in EVs, yet fewer than almost nine out of 10 of them saying they wouldn’t consider purchase. Style of EV is all-important to over half of them.  

Lower running costs (63 per cent) and being better for the environment (64 per cent) were the biggest benefits for two thirds of the audience overall, with the latter being most important for an under 25 audience, and the former for the over 25s. However, performance isn’t an issue, with just 20 per cent saying they believe performance be a barrier to purchase.  

Russell Kearney, head of automotive at Encore Digital Media, comments: “Instead of brands simply announcing they’re going electric, investment in educating on the benefits and myth busting the negative perceptions is vital."



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