2 in 5 don’t think they will ever afford electric car

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With recent SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) figures stating that just 8 per cent of car sales are electric, new research has identified that two-in-five (37%) petrol and diesel drivers don’t think their budget will ever stretch to an electric car.

As part of the study, for car finance broker CarFinance 247, 2,002 UK adult drivers were shown a typical price of good-quality, used electric or hybrid cars, and asked when they thought they might be able to afford them, allowing time for saving or their monthly income to grow.

Nearly two-in-five (37%) said that, right now, they could afford a used, small EV like a Nissan Leaf (priced around £5,000), while one-in-five (18%) could stretch to a mid-range car, such as a second-hand Golf EV (around £18,000).

Top-end cars, unsurprisingly, remain out of reach for many, with a quarter (24%) saying they could never afford even a used Tesla 3 (priced around £42,000) – nearly one-in-three (29%) went so far as to say that they could only afford one if they won the lottery.

A surprising finding, considering the seemingly high cost, was that the lower the annual household income, the more positive the participant was about electric cars. Of those with an income of less than £15,000  – minimum wage in the UK – more than half (54%) of the participants said that they either have or want an electric car. This was despite CarFinance 247 figures showing that, in 2019, the average cost of a used electric car (bought with finance) was £18,320.

Those with a larger household income were less positive. Of all of the UK adults surveyed, one in five (21%) said they don’t like electric cars. Within this group, three-in-five (59%) respondents with an income of £75,000 or more per annum said that their dislike of EVs was due to cost, compared with just half (48%) of those who earn less than £15,000 pounds sterling a year.

Similarly, millennials were the age group who appeared to embrace electric cars the most, with 70 per cent of 18-34 years olds saying they have or want one. This declined the older the participant was, with those aged 65+ backing them the least, with just 3 per cent owning an EV. Surprisingly, however, a quarter of those aged 65+ said that they would actually like an EV (22%) but couldn’t afford one (24%).

Says Louis Rix co-CEO of CarFinance 247:

“I would encourage anyone looking to buy a new or used car in the future to consider an electric one. But it’s clear from our research that there are still many drivers who feel uncertain about EVs, in particular when it comes to their perceived costs.

“However, electric cars are not always as expensive as people think. You can pick up a good quality, used EV now for a very good price, and they retain their value too. With 2030 not far away, consumers can’t wait much longer to start exploring the options.”

To help everyone do their bit for our planet, CarFinance 247 has compiled a guide on how to drive in a more environmentally friendly way, even if you haven’t got an electric car.

Chris Price
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