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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Brits set to shun electric cars

Two-thirds of UK motorists do not want an electric or hybrid vehicle, despite the government’s pledge to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040.

High insurance costs for electric vehicles / istock
High insurance costs for electric vehicles ©iStock

That is according to research by comparethemarket.com, which shows that the upfront cost and lack of digital infrastructure are the main reasons drivers prefer traditional fuel cars.

Some 49% do not believe they could afford to ‘go green’ – equating to around 18 million motorists – while nearly one in ten are worried that the insurance costs are too high.

This comes after previous research by the price comparison website found that UK drivers opting for electric cars pay an average of 45% more to insure their vehicle.

“Joining the green revolution remains merely an ‘electric dream’ for the majority of British motorists," comparethemarket.com head of motor, John Miles, said.

“While the ongoing running cost of an electric car might be lower due to savings on fuel, we are not yet at the point of critical mass where manufacture, repair, insurance and distribution costs fall significantly.”

It was also found that two-thirds of drivers do not want an electric car because they are concerned about where they would charge it.

There are 4,855 locations around the UK with installed charging points, but fears persist as to whether this can expand fast enough, after global sales of battery-powered vehicles jumped 60% last year.

“Nobody wants to run out of power half way through a journey and find themselves miles from a charging point,” Miles continued.

“While the number of charging points across the UK is growing day by day, there are still fears that the UK does not have the sufficient infrastructure to cope with this rapidly growing market.”

The research also suggests older generations have more positive attitudes to green vehicles than younger drivers, after 38% of over 55-year-olds said they would like their next car to be an electric or hybrid model.

That compares to 24% of 18-24 year-olds, with this age group generally only able to spend £6,500 on a new car – less than three times the average cost of a Nissan Leaf.

“For electric cars to really take off, steps must be taken to improve and expand the infrastructure on which they rely and reduce the upfront cost,” Miles concluded.

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