Poor households ‘more eager’ to own EVs than wealthy

Affordability of electric vehicles will be vital in the transition from ICE, according to new research – regardless of household income.

The study, undertaken by finance firm CarFinance 247, discovered that 37% of non-EV drivers don’t think their budget will stretch to an EV. The figures were even starker for those who purchased a used car – 43% – and less so for a new vehicle – 28%.

The study of 2000 drivers saw consumers shown a variety of used electric and hybrid vehicles and their prices – and whether they could afford them, allowing for saving or monthly income.

Using this analysis, two in five said they could afford a used EV such as a Nissan Leaf (£5000), but this quickly fell to less than one in five – 18% – for a mid-range car such as a Golf EV (£18,000). Current ‘top in market’ vehicles such as the Tesla 3 were out of reach with just under a third (29%) saying they would only purchase such a vehicle if they won the lottery.

One unusual finding was that despite the relative average high cost of such vehicles at present – £18,000 – the lower the household income the more positive were respondents about EVs. In the bracket of those respondents on under £15,000 a year, more than half – 54% – said they either wanted or had an EV.

Interestingly, those on higher incomes which can more easily afford such vehicles were less positive. More than a fifth (21%) said they ‘don’t like’ electric cars and 59% said their dislike was due to the cost of such vehicles, despite being on an income of more than £75,000.

Millennials were the most eager for EVs with 70% of 18-34 year olds saying they want or own one.

Speaking about the findings, co-CEO of CarFinance 247, Louis Rix, said: “I would encourage anyone looking to buy a new or used car in the future to consider an electric one.

“But it’s clear from our research that there are still many of drivers who feel uncertain about EVs, in particular when it comes to their perceived costs. However, electric cars are not always as expensive as people think. You can pick up a good quality, used EV now for a very good price, and they retain their value too. With 2030 not far away, consumers can’t wait much longer to start exploring the options.”

“Our research shows young people are quite idealistic about electric cars, even though they might not yet be in a position to buy one. As a nation, it seems we become more reluctant to own an EV when we’re in a position when we could, in theory, cover the expense of one.”

“We weren’t expecting the older generation to embrace the prospect of EVs as much as they did, however, what’s concerning is that people who are at retirement age have the desire for an electric car but can’t afford one.”

Sign up for our essential
newsletter service.

Enter your details here.