EV interest drops amidst rising costs

20 April 2023 | David Young

The government has been urged do more to encourage EV adoption as buyer interest has plummeted in the face of higher vehicle and energy prices coupled with the cost-of living crisis

EV interest drops amidst rising costs

Auto Trader's Road to 2030 Report says the government must step in with a detailed programme of tax incentives to support the mass adoption of EVs as buyer interest has dropped by almost two thirds – or 65% – since the beginning of 2022.

The Road to 2030 Report reveals that on average new EVs are still 37% more expensive than petrol and diesel cars – a figure that hasn't changed since June 2022.

Among the more affordable cars costing less than £30,000, the lack of choice is even more acute, with the number of petrol and diesel models for sale nine times bigger than the number of EVs.

Meanwhile, Auto Trader's Report also shows the impact of lower fuel prices and higher energy bills, where the high upfront cost of buying a new EV erodes the now shrinking advantage of lower running costs. While EV owners with a home charger can save up to £130 for every 1,000 miles by charging at off peak overnight rates, savings reduce to just £40 for those drivers using slow/fast public chargers.

To make the transition to electric fairer, Auto Trader is calling for fairer charging costs, more incentives to make EVs affordable for all, and initiatives to build both buyer and seller confidence in used EVs.

Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, the UK's largest automotive marketplace, said: "These are difficult times for the UK's Road to 2030 ambitions and we are in danger of veering off-track. If the government is serious about achieving its ambitions, it needs to do more. For example, it cannot be right that those who don't have option of charging at home are forced to pay substantially more to charge their vehicles. While the extra £380mn announced in March to improve charging infrastructure will help, the goal of mass adoption is at risk unless we use the tax system inventively to spur on EV purchases and accelerate demand.

"Without action, specifically on affordable options and battery health confidence, the used electric market – which is both key to the success of the new electric market and to ensuring a fair transition to electric – will continue to falter."