Despite low running costs, most UK drivers rejecting electric cars due to upfront cost

With just over 20 years until petrol and diesel cars are planned to be banned, Britain is weighing up the idea of switching to ‘green’ driving more than ever before.

MoneySuperMarket has conducted a study to determine just how viable this switch is. The data reveals the true cost of making the jump to electric versus driving a petrol or diesel car, as well as the number of charging points currently available in different UK regions, a key factor in the plan to turn the UK electric.

Is the British Public Prepared?

With 49% of the British public stating that they have never considered purchasing an electric or hybrid car, it appears that education and pricing are crucial factors in the public’s apprehension to go electric. Some of the key findings from the research include:

  • 51% of people surveyed stated price is currently the biggest barrier to them buying an electric or hybrid car.
  • Nearly 30% of people don’t buy electric or hybrid cars due to lack of knowledge of how they work.
  • 62% of people don’t know that the Government offers discounts and grants on buying an electric or hybrid car

The True Cost of Driving Green

Beyond public opinion, cost is a major factor in the sustainability of the plan to move to electric and a concern for the public as a whole. Fundamental findings on the cost of buying and running electric, petrol and diesel cars revealed that, although cheaper to run, electric cars are not the most cost-effective motor to own overall. Some further findings on the cost of running each car type include:

  • While the upfront costs of petrol vehicles were the lowest, the average running costs of an electric car are 36% cheaper than diesel and petrol engines, with an average saving of £2,109 across 6 years.
  • Filling up your petrol car is 8 times more expensive than electric.
  • Diesel has the highest servicing costs at £309 a year, while electric has the lowest, at £167.
  • If drivers switch to electric in 2020, they’ll save almost £8,300 on fuel costs by the time the ban is enforced3.

Taking Charge in 2040

The government’s plan to turn the UK into a nation of electric car drivers rides not only on the cost of the cars over their lifetimes, but also on the feasibility of fuelling these vehicles. Having an appropriate number of public charging points will be key for the success of Britain’s electric switchover.

Data collected on the number of electric car charging points available to drivers in UK regions bring into question whether the UK as a whole is truly ready for an electric revolution. Whilst the capital performs well, with 4,807 charging points in Greater London (1,804 people per point), other areas fell short. The South West has only 1,673 points, 5,348 people for each one, while Yorkshire & the Humber has just 1,049 – 5,139 people to each.

A spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, commented:

“Moving to electric isn’t just a way to protect the environment – over the long run, it’s more affordable. While the upfront costs will put many off, some haven’t swapped because of a lack of knowledge about electric vehicles – including Government discounts and grants.

“It’s our hope that with this study, drivers across the UK can be a little more informed about their options and make the choice that’s right for them when they start looking for their next car.”

For the full details on the true cost of driving green and how the UK is shaping up, click here to see the full research.