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Why don’t more drivers switch to electric?

According to new research commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry, 82% of drivers feel they don’t know enough about electric vehicles to wave goodbye to their petrol or diesel car just yet.

Two thirds said they wouldn't know where to find a charging point, and nearly a third insisted they would never change to electric.

The IMI study found that three quarters of drivers who hadn't yet made the switch felt that extra Government subsidies would make electric vehicles more accessible. And they believe the Government – which has set a target of 2040 for the complete ban on sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles – needs to do more to educate car buyers on the benefits of switching from petrol/diesels to low emission vehicles.

The research also identified the lack of knowledge about the expertise and training required to service and maintain electric vehicles. The professional body for the automotive sector found that nine in ten drivers are not aware of the current training and qualifications necessary for technicians to work on an electrified vehicle. And yet, more troublingly, 59% of respondents said they would be confident to perform basic maintenance tasks on an electric vehicle themselves.

“Range anxiety is one of the main reasons drivers are put off making the switch,” the IMI’s Chief Executive Steve Nash said. “But the IMI found that people’s weekly mileage is between 60-100 miles, which means most drivers could actually switch to an ultra-low emission vehicle and would only need to charge their car once a week.

“The fact that over half of motorists thought they could do basic maintenance on an electric vehicle is also a huge concern. With technology in vehicles moving at a record pace, it’s more important than ever that those undertaking service, maintenance and repair are regularly trained and properly qualified to a recognised standard. This guarantees their safety in working on and around high-voltage systems, and ensures that vehicle owners can have confidence that their vehicles are in competent hands.”

The IMI is currently working with the Government to implement a Licence to Practise for vehicle technicians working on electric and hybrid vehicles.