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Two in five UK drivers will never afford an electric car

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Kalila Sangster
·3-min read
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London/UK-30/07/18: two white Volkswagen Golf GTE cars charging at a charging point on a street in London. The Golf GTE is a plug-in hybrid version of the Golf hatchback
Electric vehicles remain out of budget for many Brits. Photo: Getty

Two-in-five (37%) UK drivers do not think they will ever be able to afford an electric car, new research from car finance broker CarFinance 247 has found.

Some 43% of motorists who currently own a petrol or diesel vehicle that was bought used said they will never afford an electric car, where as only 28% of Brits who bought a new car think that they won’t be able to stretch to an electric vehicle (EV), according to the study of over 2,000 drivers.

Nearly two-in-five (37%) said that they would currently be able to afford a used, small EV like a Nissan Leaf (NSANY) — priced around £5,000 ($6,668). One-in-five (18%) could manage to buy mid-range car, such as a second-hand Volkswagen (VOW3.DE) Golf EV for £18,000.

Top-end cars remain out of budget for many Brits, with a quarter (24%) saying they could never save enough cash to buy a used Tesla 3 (TSLA) — priced around £42,000 — and nearly one-in-three (29%) said they would only be able to afford one if they won the lottery.

READ MORE: UK car output falls 18.2% in October as sector awaits critical Brexit deal

Brits with lower the annual household income were more positive about electric cars, according to the research. Of those who earn the UK minimum wage minimum wage in the UK — an income of less than £15,000 per year — more than half (54%) said that they either have or want an electric car, despite the average cost of a used EV bought with finance in 2019 standing at £18,320, according to CarFinance 247 figures.

On the other hand, those with a larger household income were less positive. Of respondents who said they don’t like electric cars, three-in-five (59%) with an income of £75,000 or more per annum said that their dislike of EVs was due to cost, compared with just half (48%) of those who earn less than £15,000 a year.

Some 21% of Brits said they don’t like electric cars, according to the survey.

Millennials were the age group who were most enthusiastic about electric cars, with 70% of 18- to 34-year-olds saying they have or want one.

Just 3% of over 65s owned an EV. However, almost a quarter (22%) said that they would actually like an electric car but couldn’t afford one (24%).

READ MORE: Half of UK buyers 'think 2035 too soon' for electric vehicle switch

Some 15% of motorists reported that they were not aware of the negative impact of diesel petrol and 14% didn’t realise driving slower or in a lower gear was a way to be more sustainable when driving.

Louis Rix, co-CEO of CarFinance 247, said: “We were astonished that with all the noise in the media about diesel cars, some people are still unaware of the harm they are doing to our planet.

“If an electric car isn’t something you can afford in the near future, I would encourage everyone to do what they can to drive more sustainably in their current car, such as checking your tyre pressure, maintaining a steady speed, and exploring flexible working options to reduce your commute.”

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