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Move to electric vehicles cutting no ICE with motorists

UK drivers  are increasingly sceptical over the move to electric vehicles with nearly half saying they want the current 2030 ban on the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars scrapped.

Research among UK drivers commissioned by Forbes Advisor, the price comparison and financial guidance platform, shows that most doubt the UK’s ability to meet its 2030 target for a ban on the sale of new ICE cars and vans.

One in 10 drivers (11%) hadn’t even heard of the proposed 2030 ban and, of those that had, two-thirds (62%) said they did not believe that the UK would be ready in time.

Accordingly, more than one in 10 (12%) think that the ICE ban should be moved to at least 2035, one in five (21%) say it shouldn’t be introduced until 2040, and one in eight (13%) think that 2050 – 20 years later than planned – is a more realistic target. However, the largest group of motorists (42%) think that the ban should be scrapped altogether.

Forbes Advisor said this sentiment is particularly strongly held by older drivers (aged 55+), with almost half (48%) calling for the ban to be dropped, while just over a quarter (28%) of younger motorists (aged 18-34) agree.

It added regardless of the ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles, nearly half of motorists that currently drive a petrol or diesel car are planning to make the switch to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle (EV). One in 10 (10%) are aiming to do so “a few years before 2030”, 15% by 2030, and 22% within a couple of years of 2030.

But a fifth of British drivers – equivalent to over 6.6 million cars – say they will never make the switch away from ICE, suggesting a healthy second-hand petrol and diesel car market for many years to come.

Just 4% of motorists say that they currently drive an electric car, and the main drawbacks of switching to EVs were found to be purchase price (61%), infrastructure i.e. access to charging points (60%), and range concerns (55%).

Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at Forbes Advisor, says: “It’s easy to see why motorists are reluctant to make the change from fossil fuels to battery-powered motoring. The average cost of a new EV is £61,320, and it comes with an average range of 219 miles for a full charge, but a new ICE car costs an average of £29,018 with a median range of 413 miles for a full tank, so paying twice as much for half the driving distance doesn’t seem like a good deal at face value.

“There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that EV owners are unhappy with long waits to use charging points – and how these are often out of order – and it seems clear that infrastructure hasn’t been keeping pace with the adoption of EVs and the spike that’s likely to come as we near the 2030 ICE ban.”

He added: “The government has announced an investment programme designed to increase the number of on-street charging points, so that should help improve the situation. And the news of the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) manufacturing mandate – which will require carmakers to produce a set percentage of ZEVs as part of their total output – will also contribute towards the official 2030 target by increasing the pool of EVs.

“But with the European Commission proposing to allow manufacturers to continue selling ICE vehicles beyond its own 2035 deadline, and with the scant appetite among British car owners for an outright ban on non-EV vehicles revealed by this research, the UK government needs to keep the pedal to the metal if its ambitions for an overhaul of the UK private motoring fleet are to come to fruition.”