Electric car horror: Demand is lowest in UK despite millions spent on infrastructure

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Electric car demand is lagging behind other advanced European nations with just under one in five even considering buying a new model. Just 17 percent of road users were contemplating making the switch to a new electric model in the lowest of nine EU countries analysed by YouGov.

The findings revealed Spain is the most prepared nation with 37 percent saying they were considering making a move.

Norway was the second most popular region with one-third of drivers saying they were looking at an electric car as their next purchase.

Only Denmark was as low as the UK with just 20 percent saying they were considering a switch for a new EV.

However, YouGov reveals this figure represents a slight three percentage point increase since January.

At the start of the year, just 14 percent of road users revealed they were considering an electric car showing demand is slowly on the rise.

Meanwhile, 22 percent of British drivers said they would recommend an electric car to friends compared to just 16 percent at the start of the year.

This was the largest increase out of anywhere surveyed by YouGov with the UK just behind Italy and Spain in terms of recommendations.

Kai Virtanen, Head of consumer research at YouGov revealed that it was vital that manufacturers used the “best insights possible” to understand why drivers bought consumer cars.

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Understanding this could help better target the audience and help drive take-up of electric models across the UK.

Mr Virtanen said firms must address the “many barriers” which were stopping more widespread sales of the new cars.

He said: “COVID-19 has undoubtedly hit so many industries so hard – so it may be a relief to many auto manufacturers that purchase consideration and recommendation for electric cars has remained broadly consistent across Europe during the pandemic.

“This is a good starting point, but with the auto sector being hit hard by COVID it is important that manufacturers are using the best insights possible to understand how and why consumers buy electric cars.

“As our research shows, there is a large pool of potential buyers out there.

“Only by listening and understanding their motives – which can vary heavily from country to country – will they address many of the barriers that stopped potential buyers even before the pandemic.”

Electric cars are the gamble that has to pay off after years of investment from manufacturers and millions spent on infrastructure.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed an extra £10million of funding for electric car technology in July’s mini-budget statement.

The extra money will be used to help “scale up” manufacturing in areas such as electric batteries and motors.

Plans will be drawn up to produce an electric car “gigafactory” to drive availability of models in the UK.

Last year the government also set aside a massive £37million to research new electric charging projects.

These included ways to build more wireless charging and solar-powered forecourts to ease demand on fossil fuels.

Alongside this, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has also contributed funding to installing extra charging bays in residential areas to reduce the issues surrounding range anxiety.

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