Drivers of SUVS could save 9m tonnes of Co2 a year by going electric

Drivers of SUVs could save Britain at least 8.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, helping Britain in its goal to achieve Net Zero, if they were all to switch to an equivalent EV version, according to new research from EDF.

Average carbon emissions from SUVs are nearly 10% higher than the average car. Analysis conducted by EDF found that the 4.2 million petrol and diesel SUVs on UK roads will emit around 8.7m tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, when driven an average of 7,400 miles. That’s the equivalent of 5.2 million return flights from London to New York.

Consumer research commissioned by EDF revealed that, despite SUVs being the second largest cause of the global rise in CO2 emissions over the past decade, their impact on the environment is only the eighth most important consideration (35%) for drivers when purchasing a new model.

It lies behind the cost to run (51%), size of the boot (48%) and whether it runs off petrol, diesel or is a hybrid (47%). In comparison, only a quarter (26%) of SUV drivers state that they would consider whether the model is an EV prior to purchasing.

The research also reveals that despite over 6-in-10 (65%) SUV drivers believing switching to an EV is an environmentally better option, and a ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles due to come into force in 2030, only 53% are considering making the switch in the next 5-10 years.

The main barriers for drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles to going electric include concerns about the costs of purchasing an EV (70%) and limited access to charge points (63%), alongside concerns around lengthy charging times and the cost of installing a home charging point putting off over half of British motorists (53%).

Despite these concerns, those who own EVs are positive about their experiences, with over half claiming that EVs perform much better than a petrol/diesel vehicle (53%) and that they can fully charge their vehicle for under a fiver overnight using a home charge-point (51%).

Of those petrol and diesel SUV drivers who are looking to make the switch to electric, over half (53%) said they would do so in a bid to tackle climate change, with a third (33%) believing going electric will save them money in the long run.

The research demonstrated that almost half of British motorists (48%) don’t realise that the equivalent SUV is available from certain manufacturers in both petrol, diesel and EV models – despite some of the most popular models having EV counterparts – with a third (32%) of non-SUV drivers stating that they would consider purchasing an SUV if they didn’t have such a large environmental impact.

What’s more, only a fifth (19%) of SUV drivers are aware that, when taking into consideration fuel and leasing costs, the cost to run an EV SUV is less than running a petrol/diesel equivalent model.

Cost and carbon savings over the course of three years can be made on popular SUV models including the Peugeot e-2008 and BMW iX3 – as well as across the full range of body types including hatchbacks, coupes and saloon EVs.

Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers at EDF, said: “SUVs have grown in popularity in recent years, with drivers attracted by the style and space they offer. But it seems that drivers are unaware that they can cut their carbon footprint without compromising on body type.

“With a wide range of popular SUV styles available in EV models, making the switch can allow drivers to do their bit for the environment and help Britain achieve Net Zero, without compromising on design or comfort.

“As Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, we’re committed to making it as easy as possible for motorists to make the switch to an EV. By charging using our 100% zero carbon GoElectric35 tariff, drivers can reduce the annual CO2 emissions from their vehicle to zero.”

Image: Shutterstock

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