Photo: Jackson David

The latest Road to 2030 report from Auto Trader has revealed that fewer than half of drivers are currently willing to embrace electric vehicles (EVs) as concerns over affordability and charging prevent consumers from making the switch.

The report highlighted the barriers to mass adoption as the 2030 deadline on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles approach. Its research, based on a poll of 4,000 drivers across the UK, reveals just 47% of drivers consider that owning an EV would fit in with their lifestyle.

Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, said:

“There is still much more work to be done to achieve a mass transition to electric vehicles before the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel models and ensure no driver is left behind. Support from the tax system to put the used EV market on a more robust footing is vital for the sustainability of the entire EV market and our chances of successfully transitioning to EVs by 2030.


“Consumers are still worried about affordability and charging, which is why we need a clear statement of intent from the Government. Penalising drivers who have to charge in public with higher VAT is simply unfair: we need to end this charging injustice.”

56% of the poll consider EVs too expensive and another 47% worried over a lack of charging points. Despite the average household only needing to plug in once a week, two-fifths of drivers believe they would have to charge their cars every three days­.

The affordability barriers are underlined by the shrinking of new EVs on sale for less than £30,000, with just nine models now compared to 11 at the end of 2022. The handful of affordable new EVs contrasts with 87 diesel and petrol models on sale below £30,000. New EVs are still on average 33% more expensive than traditionally fueled vehicles, throwing up further barriers to mass market adoption.

Auto Trader’s report reveals a circa 23% contraction in second-hand electric prices over the past 12 months, bringing greener options within reach of more drivers. According to Auto Trader data, more than a quarter of all used EVs were priced under £20,000 in August – up from 7% a year earlier.

EVs between three and five years old have seen even bigger price drops of 40%, making some EV models such as the Nissan Leaf cheaper than petrol or diesel equivalents for the first time.

As a result of the softening in prices, which has been fuelled by a significant growth in supply as brand-new EVs bought on finance or leasing contracts three-four years ago re-enter the market, demand for second-hand EVs on Auto Trader has increased significantly, with current levels up 68.6% compared with August last year.

But while the oversupply of EVs has been effective in driving down used prices and encouraging consumers to consider the switch, uptake is still limited to wealthier drivers as concerns over affordability and charging hold back the push towards mass adoption.

Auto Trader is calling for the Government to make EVs more affordable by using incentives in the tax system rather than relying on unsustainable market dynamics.

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