EV ownership at ‘tipping point’ as 50 percent of all car buyers say they want one

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The speed of the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK continues to surprise the automotive industry and a new study says almost half of all buyers in the UK are now seeking to purchase a fully battery-powered vehicle.

Some 49 percent of drivers looking to buy a car said they would now choose an electric vehicle, more than double the 21 percent of just two years ago.

The survey by accounting firm EY revealed that a combination of factors including the cost of petrol and environmental benefits are driving the change.

EY said the speed of the change was “eye-opening” with manufacturers now needing to make sure they are catching up with demand, reported the Telegraph.

Maria Bengtsson of EY said: “These findings truly mark a tipping point in the UK car-buying market.

“Nearly 50 percent of consumers across the UK indicating that they want an electric vehicle is a significant milestone in the transition from internal combustion engines.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly socially and environmentally conscious, and they’re willing to pay a premium to meet their environmental standards.”

The survey included 18,000 people in 18 countries including 1,000 people in the UK.

However despite the rise, motorists here still lag behind a country such as Italy, where almost three-quarters are planning to buy a battery-powered vehicle.

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However, the UK is ahead of Australia and the US where just 38pc and 29pc were committed to purchasing an electric car.

The end of this decade sees the Government banning the sale of all petrol and diesel cars.

And many cities have already introduced low emissions zones, with Oxford only permitting zero emissions vehicles in its centre.

Both these factors played into the responses from UK-based buyers.

Some 46 percent of respondents said the penalties on petrol and diesel cars was the main reason to buy an electric car and 45 percent cited environmental concerns.

There were still concerns about the high upfront cost of EVs however, as well as a lack of charging stations and range anxiety.

Average battery ranges have gone up considerably in the past ten years and the average battery-powered car can now travel almost 260 miles on a single charge.

According to industry trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), an EV in the UK has an average battery range of 257 miles compared with 74 miles in 2011.

Four in ten cars for sale are now either battery powered or plug-in hybrid.

And the number of choices from manufacturers is higher than ever, with around 140 models available.

There are also now more than 30,000 public chargers available, although the Government wants to have 300,000 available by the end of the decade.

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