EV buyers put off by lack of infrastructure

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EV buyers put off by lack of infrastructure

New car buyers who are considering making the switch to emissions-free electric cars are being dissuaded by a lack of public charging points and the cost of battery operated vehicles.

Research conducted by electrical contracting company Rexel suggests that almost half of British drivers looking for a new car in the next five years would consider either a battery electric or hybrid vehicle, though roughly the same number stated they would not know where to charge it up.

This lack of awareness is in part down to the slow introduction of public charging infrastructure, with significant numbers currently seen only in busy city centres and outside larger supermarkets.

Indeed, 72% of respondents to Rexel's survey said that they had never even seen one of the UK's 3,000 charging points. More worryingly, there is a general lack of awareness around electric cars.

As many as 30 per cent of drivers admitted they would not know who to ask for advice, and 20 per cent assuming that any garage would be able to help with maintenance.

The Government needs to ensure that 6.3 million electric cars are bought by 2030 to ensure that the country keeps on track to meets its agreed carbon reduction targets of at least 80 per cent by 2050.

To do this, it needs to tackle one of the key sticking points to the usability of EVs: range anxiety. The lack of charging infrastructure means motorists are simply unable to replace their conventional car, with 62 per cent of respondents citing this impracticality as the main reason they had not made the switch.

Costs for electric vehicles are also still too high for most motorists. Despite a Government grant which allows buyers to claim back 25 per cent of the car's cost, up to a maximum of £5,000.

Over £400 million has been earmarked for investment in the EV infrastructure over the next two years, including £37 million for home and on-street parking, as well as charging points at railway station car parks.

Commenting on the findings, Brian Smithers, strategic development director for Rexel, said: "The rate at which the plug-in vehicle market develops in the UK will be determined by a range of factors, including consumer awareness, acceptance and rising oil prices.

"The survey results highlight that more needs to be done to raise awareness amongst the British public and reassure them that the necessary infrastructure will be in place in the not-too-distant future."