Runaway Electricity Costs Further Barrier to BEVs, AA

Recent rapid rises in electricity costs have become another barrier to consumers thinking of making the switch to BEV personal transport.

That’s the finding of research by the UK’s Automobile Association (AA) which shows that 70% of those drivers surveyed, who will eventually have to switch to zero emission vehicles after the 2030 sales ban on new fossil-fueled cars, have been so shocked by the surge in electricity prices that it has made them question making the switch. A further 63% say they have been left uncertain by the price hikes but existing other factors are a stronger influence against a decision to buy an electric car.

Just 24% are taking the long view on the surge in electricity prices and have not been deterred from wanting an EV sometime in the future. It is thought that many of those left doubting will come round to this view once the domestic energy price shock recedes.

However, there remain other factors holding back a faster transition to BEVs with the cost-of-living crisis in general currently the biggest impediment to a speedier uptake of electric cars.

While fossil fuel prices have also soared in Europe this year, thanks largely to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, electricity prices at public charge stations have also rocketed to, in many cases, match the cost of gasoline and diesel per mile traveled. Naturally, home charging is still much cheaper but most urban BEV owners do not have that luxury with vehicles parked out on public roads.

The AA believes many drivers left in doubt by the energy price shocks will sit tight for the moment and look again at EVs when energy markets settle down again. Meanwhile, the AA’s president Edmund King will address these at the Highways UK conference today at the NEC in Birmingham and will list other reasons why the switch to EVs is still in the slow lane:

What is slowing greater uptake of EVs?

High purchase prices, range anxiety and lack of public chargers have traditionally been the reasons that drivers give as hurdles to Electric Vehicle (EV) uptake. In periods of austerity drivers tend to hold onto their current cars longer as they worry about their diminishing disposable income.

Mindset

When it comes to EVs, or any form of brand-new technology which breaks with the past, there are always some consumers who are slower to adapt. There may be a reluctance to change from what they know. Some drivers argue that have always filled up at gas stations and don’t want to have to plan journeys or think about charging at home or work.

Some still suffer from the uncertainty around the length of the main battery life. Almost half worried about other neighbors using their home chargers without permission – even though most chargers can be locked to prevent access. Some people just don’t like change.

Reasons to switch

An AA Yonder poll of 13,062 drivers in May 2022 showed that helping the environment was the top reason for switching to a BEV as cited by 62% of respondents.

Do financial incentives help?

Earlier this year the government removed the grant for homeowners to install a home charge point. Now 59% say they would be put off buying a BEV because of this additional cost. In a statement, King said: “Today there are almost half a million full EVs on the roads in the UK with more models coming to market each month. However, the cost of living and higher electricity costs are deterring almost three quarters of drivers from making the switch now.

“For some drivers it is a big psychological and practical leap from tried and trusted petrol or diesel cars to full electric models. However, after making that leap drivers will not go back, and the switch ultimately will lead to lower running costs and less damage to the environment. The AA is here to help drivers make that switch from learning to drive in EVs, through fixing, repairing, leasing, and servicing EVs.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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