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Nearly half of British public say they will never buy an electric car over charging fees

September 11, 2020

By Paul Homewood



Nearly half of the UK public say they will never buy an electric car because of a lack of charging points, according to a new survey.

The cost of EVs is the other major reason why 46 per cent of people say they would not buy one in the future, the survey by Ford Motors has found. 
The findings highlight the challenge the Government faces as it prepares to bring forward the deadline to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles, including plug-in hybrid models. 
Transport Minister Grant Shapps has suggested the date will be brought forward to 2032, but it is under pressure to make it as early as 2030. 
EVs currently account for just 5 per cent of new cars, but sales doubled in August even as the overall market fell. 
More than half of respondents to the Ford survey said they were put off buying an EV because of the price. Most EVs are significantly more expensive than similar petrol or diesel models, even with Government subsidies, with the cheapest starting from around £17,000.


Never is, of course, a long time. But the survey underlines the fact that EVs simply are not fit for purpose for most drivers.

Cost is, of course, one problem, but not in my view an overriding one. Bear in mind that buyers of EVs don’t only get £3000 subsidies on purchase, they also  save about £1000 a year by not paying fuel duties. Add on exemption from vehicle tax, congestion charges etc, and the subsidy provided by the taxpayer works out at around £10,000 over five years.

Yet even with that bung, hardly anybody wants an EV.


The real issue is, of course, recharging batteries. Nearly half of car owners have no access to off street parking, so will find it difficult or impossible to charge at home.

Even those who can do so will worry about what happens when they go on a long run. There is no guarantee they will be able to recharge when they get to their destination, and the idea they should queue up for hours waiting to use public charger points is quite simply absurd.

Currently, despite the hype, EVs only make up 0.26% of cars on the road in the UK. One can imagine a roaring trade in refurbishing second hand cars when new ones are banned.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    September 11, 2020 11:18 am

    Next year, you’ll be able to spend >£50k on a new Skoda.

    [NB – that’s NOT a criticism of Skoda’s quality and value-for-money.]

  2. Patsy Lacey permalink
    September 11, 2020 11:27 am
    So now we get the car equivalent of the carbon tax

  3. Thomas Carr permalink
    September 11, 2020 11:30 am

    The loss of fuel duty will be intolerable. Sooner or later there would have to be a surcharge for electricity used for road transport. The latest small Tesla has been shown on You Tube to require about £8.00 of electricity for a journey which if made by a petrol driven car at 30 mpg would cost about £60.00 in fuel. Ergo a loss of about £40.00 in duty.
    Then there is the question of battery life ……… availability of rare metals ………etc etc.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 11, 2020 1:54 pm

      I read that by the time there is a good enough take-up on EVs the government (don’t laugh!) will have in place their new GPS system and will be able to track vehicle movements, billing driver per mile driven. But can’t you just see the same people who produced the abysmal track ‘n’ trace mobile app will be given another £10B to produce a dog and then use the same project management as the smart meter installation.

  4. Phillip Bratby permalink
    September 11, 2020 11:30 am

    And if you park one in your garage, look out for your house burning down.

  5. jack broughton permalink
    September 11, 2020 11:37 am

    Wont the people be pleased when they discover that we have scrapped a great power generating system for unreliables, our car industry and our steel industry to satisfy the middle-class dogma that is global warming.

    The cover-up will be amazing!

  6. September 11, 2020 11:39 am

    I’ll run my dear old diesel Merc until the bitter end! 40+ mpg every time, with re-chipped spectacular grunt, -catch me if you can.

  7. Mad Mike permalink
    September 11, 2020 11:44 am

    Roughly 2,300,000 cars sold a year in UK so that’s £23 bn over 5 years. Clearly that won’t be the case as lots of people will not be able to buy An EV in the first place. Once the prohibition comes in 2032 the there will be no need for subsidies of course and the full impact on personal transport will become apparent. No mention of any taxes here but by 2032 electricity prices will be a deterrent in themselves. Thats of course if you can get any to charge your car.

    Its a long time to 2032 so many things can happen but it looks like the public is beginning to be shown their future. Lets see how they react to that.

  8. Thomas Carr permalink
    September 11, 2020 11:57 am

    Correction: The £s details on my previous come from

  9. bobn permalink
    September 11, 2020 12:48 pm

    I note that in order to get the weight down on EVs they use alot of plastic. The body panels on a Tesla are plastic. Hmm – we’re going to need to refine alot of oil to produce the mountains of non-recyclable plastic to build EVs.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 11, 2020 1:58 pm

      The BMW EV is a load of carbon fibre. Can’t be re-cycled.

    • John Dawson permalink
      September 11, 2020 6:05 pm

      The body panels on a Tesla are either aluminium or steel.

  10. Gerry, England permalink
    September 11, 2020 12:51 pm

    Anyone else noticed that virtually every car advert now is for a battery car or a hybrid? They are certainly spending a lot of cash advertising a product that barely sells. I wonder if a complaint could be made to the ASA about hybrids since they will be banned as well.

  11. Devoncamel permalink
    September 11, 2020 1:54 pm

    This is what happens when policy is driven (ha ha) by ideology. The green Utopian future we’re being led to will turn out to be a fraud. It’s nothing less than social engineering on a grand scale. An electric car will work for me, but that is my choice. The way things are going choice will become Hobson’s.

  12. A C Osborn permalink
    September 11, 2020 1:57 pm

    Another development is this new Solar powered 30 station electric only forecourt to be opened in November.
    It has a government grant of £4.86Million, covers 3.5 acres and has battery backup.
    The charging units come from a Swiss/Sweden company.
    It has 3.50Kw charging units to recharge cars in 20 to 30 minutes.

    So 30 x 350Kw = 10Mw times 2 = 20Mwh.

    That is going to need to be one very big battery for the winter, let alone after dusk.

  13. September 11, 2020 2:14 pm

    One other factor with EV’s is this: The Daily Telegraph runs a motoring column every Saturday and a few months ago someone wrote in to say that his 8 year old EV was only holding 30% of its full charge what should he do? The answer was to scrap the car, renewing the battery would be too expensive for the future life expectancy of the car. their other fault is that they are not good in winter when lights, heaters, windscreen wipers and demisters need to be used. A conventional car uses waste heat from the engine and the Alternator to keep the battery topped up. Also in winter batteries use a chemical process to provide power which is ambient heat dependent.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 11, 2020 3:19 pm

      Andrew, I kid you not, but an old friend if mine was thinking about getting an EV and, being worried about range suggested to me that it was easy to fix. All that needed to be done was install two sets of batteries and put an alternator on the motor. This would charge battery set number 2 while the motor was driven by battery set number one. When battery set number one got low on charge, simply switch between the two so that number one got charged!
      It was a real face-palm moment but I could not shift him in his belief.

      • Tym fern permalink
        September 11, 2020 10:33 pm

        Perpetual motion at last!

  14. rory green permalink
    September 11, 2020 5:45 pm

    We need nuclear cars and transport.

  15. Patsy Lacey permalink
    September 11, 2020 5:56 pm

    Apparently Hinkley Point B is likely to close in 2022 and not 2023. We might be looking at power cuts sooner rather than later – with or without EVs

  16. Ian Travers permalink
    September 11, 2020 9:00 pm

    I was astonished to read recently that a small VW EV about to go to market weighs about one and three quarter tons! No wonder the test driver thought the brakes were a bit feeble!

  17. Gamecock permalink
    September 12, 2020 2:27 pm

    ‘EVs currently account for just 5 per cent of new cars, but sales doubled in August’

    What does this even mean? Sales of new cars doubled? Making EVs just 2.5% in August?

    Telegraph sub editors: report for you beatings.

  18. Russ Wood permalink
    September 12, 2020 3:02 pm

    I’ve just come back to Johannesburg, South Africa, from a holiday in the Drakensberg. It was a drive of about 400 km, arriving at a small, isolated country hotel, which has a diesel generator for lighting. I filled up with petrol on the way back, getting about 500 km on a tank. Erm – let’s see an EV even APPROACHING that capability!

  19. September 13, 2020 1:51 pm

    We’ll be like Cuba!

    Must be a coming market in old school real cars with with no ECU’s you tune your self and the electrics just make sparks, light lights and turn the starter, if you’re lucky.. Unless they are by Lucas, god of darkness, that is. Perhaps having a starting handle will become valued again? I’d like modern tyres and brakes, though.

    Howill government regain the lost fuel taxes if electric cars become popular? Tax electricity/tax charging points, etc. Books must be balanced.

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