UK Motorists Stick to ICE Fearing BEV Obsolescence

Fear over jumping too soon into BEV technology is, for many UK motorists, delaying the decision to switch from ICE powered vehicles.

A survey of more than 12,000 consumers by AA Lease suggests that there’s a sizeable challenge for automakers to address. That’s because while people don’t mind taking a risk with technological obsolescence when they buy a digital device, such as a laptop, they baulk at investing in a vehicle costing twenty times the price tag, especially when the expected lifespan of a BEV is under 10 years.

The research showed around 20% of respondents fifth are worried that switching to an BEV may mean being left in the slow lane as the technology leaves them behind. Faced with the rise of low-emission zones, like London’s ULEZ and the nation’s upcoming ban on sales of new ICE powered cars in 2030, drivers are increasingly looking at BEVs.

However, a growing concern for potential BEV owners is that the rapid changes in the industry mean they risk buying a vehicle that could soon become outdated. Fear over getting the wrong electric model may also be fueling financial unease, with 48% of respondents admitting they are concerned about buying a BEV outright.

This fear adds to the existing mainstream concern where 54% of motorists consider the charging infrastructure is woefully lacking. The current tally of around 44,000 points is a long way short of the government’s target of 300,000 by 2030. Range anxiety still worries half of the respondents who, rightly, remain skeptical over manufacturer’s performance claims in all weather conditions.

Martin Smith, director at AA Lease, said: “The number of EV models has grown significantly in the last few years and while this gives drivers extra choice it could also lead to worries that they will make the wrong decision when switching over to electric. Nobody wants to pay for a car that they feel might end up behind the times and, with EVs evolving quickly, it’s understandable that some consumers are concerned about jumping in feet first.”

ICE ban objections

Meanwhile, another survey by the organization’s parent company, the AA in collaboration with, found that of nearly the same number of people surveyed found that the vast majority were against the UK government forcing the ICE ban of new vehicles in 2030 with just 16% of people agreeing with the proposed move.

In addition, only 9% of respondents said their next car would be electric, with 87% stating that BEVs are too expensive to purchase, that’s up from 81% in the same survey conducted in 2021), while 66% said rising energy prices had put them off owning an electric car. Just 8% of those surveyed have confidence in buying a used electric car, with 64% worrying that the battery won’t last as long as a gasoline or diesel car’s engine.

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

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