Speed and availability of charging biggest barriers to electric car adoption by 2040

Limited availability of rapid-charging stations is today the biggest barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles, according to a new study of 17,000 people from Ipsos MORI.

Speed and availability of charging biggest barriers to electric car adoption by 2040

The author(s)

  • Stephen Yap Head of Customer
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Limited availability of rapid-charging stations is today the biggest barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles, according to a new study of 17,000 people from Ipsos MORI.  Two out of every three Britons (65%) would like the minimum acceptable length of time for a fast charge to be one hour or less, and 76% would like to be able to charge their vehicles at home. 

While the government on Wednesday announced a plan to abandon sales of petrol and diesel-engined vehicles by 2040, today electric vehicles are still a novelty for most people.  So far 3% of Britons have ever driven an electric vehicle, while 7% have been a passenger in one.

When presented with possible reasons for purchasing an electric vehicle, by far the most important reason was low cost: 35% chose lower fuel costs as the most important reason for owning an electric vehicle, compared with 13% who chose lower emissions and other environmental benefits.  More people agree (38%) than disagree (22%) with the statement: “if petrol is affordable, I would rather purchase a vehicle with a traditional combustion engine instead of an alternative engine type.”

The Ipsos Automotive Navigator study also reveals that range anxiety is a real issue for many Britons: 42% are concerned that “public charging stations are not easy to find” and 39% believe electric vehicles “have a driving range that is not suitable for long distance travelling”.  Six out of every ten people (62%) would like an electric vehicle to be capable of travelling a minimum of 125 miles on one charge.

Stephen Yap, Head of Customer at Ipsos MORI commented:

The government’s ambitious plans unveiled yesterday may just be the impetus needed to hasten the pace of innovation in electric mobility. Range and battery technology will no doubt improve, but the biggest challenge is rolling out charging infrastructure. Today there are just over 700 rapid-charging locations in the UK capable of charging in less than hour and the number is growing every week; however as yet domestic rapid-charging technology is not at the level of consumer expectation. Widespread availability of rapid charging will be the key to unlocking mass adoption of the electric vehicle.

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 17,321 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain via Ipsos Access Panels. Interviews were conducted online in June 2017.  Data are weighted to the profile of the population.

The author(s)

  • Stephen Yap Head of Customer

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