UK Consumers Climate Concerned but Shy on EVs

Ford’s latest European study into attitudes towards EVs reveals that UK adults are the most concerned about having a global strategy to combat climate change.

Perversely, respondents in Norway, which has among the highest uptake of EV ownership and leading the way in use of sustainable energy, were well behind the Brits in their concerns. Some 2,000 consumers were questioned in the UK, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and Poland.

Carried out ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, the survey found 91% of adults in the UK feel they have a personal level of responsibility in the fight against climate change.

Asked about issues facing the society today, including systemic racism, mental health provision and addressing the gender pay gap, 34% of respondents thought having a global plan to tackle climate change was the third most pressing issue facing their country. At the same time 42% cited getting out of the pandemic while 38% chose ensuring economic recovery was deemed more important.

On top of this, 27% also said putting in stricter measures to curb climate change was needed immediately.

Results of the same questions to consumers in the other surveyed nations revealed the next most climate concerned where those living in Germany and Italy, both at 31%, followed by Norway at 29%, Netherlands at 28%, Poland at 26%, France 25% and Spain a lowly 23%. Meanwhile Brits also displayed acceptance of the need to make sacrifices in personal habits with 45% agreeing to do without non-recyclable plastics, 44% expressed a willingness to limit buying new clothes and the same amount to reducing energy consumption, 34% were willing to use cars less and 30% were happy to abandon foreign travel by air.

There was also clear indication that consumers expect businesses to be environmentally friendly: 85% said it was important that they buy products from businesses that have a positive or carbon-neutral contribution to the environment.

However, when asked about EV ownership, the study also found there are still legitimate barriers to adoption. Charging concerns and range anxiety are still significant problems in consumers’ mind, with 47% saying they’d have concerns about where they would charge their vehicle, and 40% saying EVs would put them off long journeys. Asked about the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars, around 30% think it should be pushed back or scrapped altogether, while just 25% in whole-heart agreement with it.

Stuart Rowley, president Ford of Europe, said: “This survey shows how much Britons care about climate change and that they’re ready to take a number of individual actions to help fight it. When it comes to personal transportation, it is clear they see EVs as the future, yet what the survey also shows is that people continue to have concerns around charging infrastructure and perceived range anxiety.”

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *