Over eight in ten tradespeople (83%) either own or would like to invest in an electric vehicle in the future, according to new research from Direct Line business insurance. This is significantly more than the motoring public – just 54% of whom either own or wish to switch to an electric model.
Tradespeople who want to make the switch are more interested in the practical benefits of electric vehicles than those outside the sector. Of those who either own or want to purchase an electric vehicle, more than one in five (21%) would do so because of cost savings on fuel.
Interestingly, only 15% want to switch to an electric vehicle because it is better for the environment. This is fewer than the public at large, of whom nearly one quarter (23%) would own an electric vehicle because they’re more sustainable.
The news follows the Government announcing that it is investing £620 million in grants for electric vehicle and street charging points, as part of its ambition to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. It comes as global leaders are meeting in Glasgow for the COP26 conference, which runs from 31st October- 12th November.
Tradespeople are also more optimistic about the availability of charging infrastructure than the general population. Over half (53%) expect this to be commonplace within five years, which is significantly higher than the proportion among the public (30%).
They also display more positive attitudes towards the future of vehicle ownership and their environmental impact.
Almost half (46%) of tradespeople expect electric vehicle ownership to outnumber petrol and diesel vehicles within the sector by 2026 – a figure that increases to 72% within a decade.
Among the public, just 15% believe that electric vehicle ownership will outnumber petrol or diesel models within the next five years – only increasing to 41% over the next decade – suggesting again that tradespeople are more optimistic than the general population.
Over half (55%) of tradespeople think that electric vehicles will make a tangible impact on pollution and sustainability by 2026, compared with just 20% of the public. 46% believe that there will be a stigma attached to driving a petrol or diesel vehicle within 5 years – again, significantly more than the general population, with just 20% predicting this.
Despite such positivity, tradespeople have some concerns about electric vehicles. These range from limited driving ranges, upfront costs and the choice of models currently available.
Another issue is that tradespeople are not always aware of government-backed support for buying an electric vehicle, such as the Plug-In Car Grant. Almost half (43%) of tradespeople did not know that vans were available on the grant, despite more than one in five (22%) having heard of it.
Jonny McHugh, Van Business Manager at Direct Line, said: “Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to people – and businesses and the Government is responding. There is widespread recognition that electric vehicles have a critical role to play in reducing carbon emissions.
“It’s promising to see that tradespeople are leading the way, with our research showing that they’re more likely to own or are more willing to buy an electric vehicle in future. They are also more optimistic about their future and their potential to make a positive difference in the battle against the climate crisis.”