Electric vehicles (EVs) are experiencing a surge in popularity, particularly among fleet and company car sectors. Generous tax breaks have led to an increase in sales to middle managers and delivery drivers. However, recent sales figures show that private buyers are not as enthusiastic about EVs. In the first half of this year, only 37,000 battery-powered vehicles were sold to private consumers, compared to 41,800 in the same period last year. This suggests that EVs are at risk of becoming a less desirable choice for individual buyers.
One reason for this shift in consumer behavior is the practicality and convenience of traditional petrol cars. Some individuals find it inconvenient to rely on public charging networks and deal with limited range on a single journey. Additionally, the lack of off-road parking poses challenges for EV owners who need to stretch power cables across pavements. These inconveniences have prompted some EV owners to switch back to petrol cars.
The motor trade industry is concerned about the slow uptake of EVs among private buyers, especially since there is a government deadline to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. Some executives are proposing additional incentives in the form of tax breaks and subsidies to encourage private buyers. However, financial commentator Merryn Somerset Webb argues that if EVs were truly superior, they wouldn’t require such incentives.
Many consumers are adopting a wait-and-see approach, monitoring the development of public charging networks and advancements in EV technology. They want to ensure that EVs meet their practical needs before making the switch. Furthermore, price reductions offered by EV manufacturers have not been enough to entice private buyers.
It is evident that consumer sentiment towards EVs is not easily swayed by governmental mandates or sales tactics. Consumers value the convenience and reliability of petrol cars, and until EVs address their concerns, widespread adoption among private buyers may be slow to materialize.
– Merryn Somerset Webb, social media comment
– Author’s own observations