RingGo, a UK-based cashless parking provider, recently surveyed its users to understand the evolving attitudes towards electric vehicles (EVs). It discovered that, despite growing societal efforts to promote cleaner driving, attitudes are not changing at pace.
Range anxiety and cost of purchase remain the top barriers to EV adoption, with 34% saying they won’t move until the technology and charging infrastructure improves and 15% struggling to justify the cost. Almost a fifth of respondents don’t ever want to change to an EV, but this is set against another fifth who say that their next car will be one.
Infrastructure holding EVs back
Having conducted similar research in both 2019 and 2020, the prevailing feelings about EV adoption remain the same good in theory, but harder in practice. As has been the topic of much discussion, solving the infrastructure problem will go a long way to encouraging motorists to invest in an electric vehicle and this cannot be done in a silo.
“As an electric vehicle driver myself, I can very much relate to those who embrace the technology and find the driving experience itself to be very fulfilling. However, I do also understand the worries from both motorists who have already made the leap and those thinking about it with regards to the supporting infrastructure,” says Peter O’ Driscoll, UK managing director, RingGo.
“Not only do we need to come together as an industry and government to provide the physical infrastructure that makes up charging points, but we also need to ensure that access and payment options are user friendly. There needs to be a consolidation initiative where companies and the public sector work together to create universal payment options for public charging. Only when this is in place can we truly push forward with mass electric vehicle adoption,” he adds.
The demographic difference
The lines between those embracing EVs and those turning away from them are split along different demographics. Almost four fifths of those that already own EVs are male. Additionally, almost three quarters are between the ages of 35-55 years old and 60% earn over £50,000 a year. This demographic representation tracks with the price of EVs continuing to be a barrier for purchase, with younger drivers and retirees being hyper cautious and feeling priced out.
Despite this precaution around the initial price of the vehicle itself, 42% of EV owners noted that the biggest reason for purchase was to save money on running costs. This, combined with the overwhelming majority (95%) of EV drivers believing it was the right thing to do, tipped the scales for most.
Infrastructure still lacking
For many, the concerns around charging don’t just focus on travel, but also arise when at home. One third of respondents say the biggest concern in shifting to an electric vehicle came from having nowhere to charge it at home, while almost half (48%) say that the availability of charging while travelling was more of a worry.
This sentiment was even echoed by those already driving EVs with numerous calls to create a more coherent charging infrastructure, enabling drivers to ditch the dozens of apps they currently must download in favour of one universal system. It was also noted that parking and charging fees need to come together in a unified way to avoid motorists paying for both with different providers while in the same parking spot.
Although car registrations have been down over the past year, these opinions from RingGo users track with the national sentiment towards EV adoption. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that while EVs are making strides with more and more on the road, petrol and diesel vehicles still retain the lion’s share of the market, with over 50% of new car registrations.
The survey was carried out during July 2021 and was responded to by more than 400 RingGo users as part of a summer newsletter.