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UK drivers considering EV ownership increased by 50% in 12 months, claims Close Brothers

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The number of UK drivers considering EV ownership has doubled in the past year according to Close Brothers Motor Finance's Britain Under the Bonnet report.

While last year the figure stood at 15% the figures have climbed to 30%, according to the second iteration of the Britain Under the Bonnet report from the automotive finance specialist.

A further two-fifths (40%) said they would consider buying one in the future, just not as their next vehicle purchase.

The findings follow recent figures from Industry experts The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) that revealed sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including electric cars, rose by 23.9% in 2017, and now accounts for 5.5% of the market.

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s director of sales, Sean Kemple, said: “2017 was an important year for electric vehicles, with record growth in sales and the government’s announcement that the majority of new cars should be electric by 2030. Consumer confidence has also doubled.”

The research shows that 55% trust they’ll be cheaper to run, and 29% believe they would deliver a better driving experience. However, 28% admitted that they wouldn’t consider making the switch.

The reasons were mostly down to range and cost, with 43% concerned about limited range and 47% said the initial outlay is too expensive, and 46% said the technology needed “significant” improvements.

Long charging times were also cited as another major issue for 36%. In fact, 28% of drivers said that 30 minutes is the maximum time they’d be willing to wait to fully charge, while 29% said they’d be willing to wait between 30 minutes and an hour. Just 13% would wait more than two hours.

When it comes to accessing charge points across the UK, analysis of the National Charge Point Registry shows that there are approximately 4,068 publicly funded charge points.

According to the data, Scotland has the highest number of points (approx. 745), followed by the North East of England (approx. 668) and London (504). Whereas Wales sees the lowest number of charge points (approx. 33), followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (approx. 108) and the East Midlands (approx. 158).


Approximate number of charging points



North East England   




South East England   


East of England         


South West England  


North West England  


West Midlands          


Northern Ireland


East Midlands


Yorkshire and the Humber    




Not specified




“Despite the record year, there are still major perception barriers to overcome. Consumers and dealers alike are still hesitant about making the switch,” said Kemple.

“While dealers would like to see more of these types of vehicles on their forecourts, particularly as they have zero emissions, without improvements to the infrastructure to support the charge and the range, uptake is likely to remain low in the short term.

“For this to happen, the industry and dealers will need to be brought on this journey. As a result of low tax charges, the majority of electric cars on the roads are company cars, but dealers will need to get ready as these cars will likely start coming back into the second hand space in the next couple of years.

“To do this, dealers must be given support to embrace changes in both consumer buying behaviour and government policy, and ensure they have the right cars on their forecourts.”

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