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UK drivers 'unaware' of government's electric car grant

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·3-min read
Nearly a third of UK drivers are more likely to purchase an electric car once informed of the scheme. Photo: Chuttersnap/Unsplash
Nearly a third of UK drivers are more likely to purchase an electric car once informed of the scheme. Photo: Chuttersnap/Unsplash

Two in five UK drivers do not know there is a government grant available for buying an electric car, research suggests.

The plug-in grant offers savings of up to 35% off the purchase price of qualifying vehicles, up to a maximum of £3,000 ($3,915).

With the average cost of an electric car currently up to double that of a standard vehicle, it’s a purchase beyond the means of many drivers, which is why the government launched the grant in March, to encourage the purchase of low-emissions cars.

However, 41% of drivers are “unaware” of the government’s flagship electric vehicle discount scheme, according to a survey of 4,000 by HonestJohn.co.uk.

There is a growing preference for alternative fuel cars in general, with half the nation (48%) considering buying one next

Meanwhile, just a quarter (24%) are eyeing a petrol car, while one in ten (10%) intend to buy a diesel vehicle.

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However, price is the biggest barrier to electric vehicle uptake, with 47% of driver's citing it as a concern.

When informed of the grant, nearly a third (30%) of drivers said it would make them more likely to buy an electric vehicle.

The most popular “green” vehicle is a fully electric car, which is the choice of one in five (22%), the survey found.

Meanwhile, 13% are considering a hybrid, and 5% are planning on purchasing a plug-in hybrid.

Nearly one in ten (8%) are undecided between an electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

The grant comes as the UK government has set itself the target of banning the sale of new petrol or diesel models, possibly as soon as 2030.

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“That requires a much greater uptake of electric and alternative fuel vehicles than there currently is,” said Dan Powell, managing director of HonestJohn.

“While the plug-In grant is a great way to encourage this, from our research it’s clear too few people know about it.

“The government needs to do more to get the message out there and alert car-buyers to the help that is available for them as they go green.”

Alongside price, 38% of drivers said they are concerned about the infrastructure and range of electric vehicles.

Dan said: “There are a lot of myths around electric vehicles that are very persistent, particularly around range and charging facilities.

The average range of an electric vehicle is 180 miles, while the average journey motorists take is between 21 and 40 miles, HonestJohn research found.

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Additionally, most motorway services now provide fast-charging services, allowing you to power an electric vehicle up to 80% in under an hour.

Electric vehicles are also exempt from congestion charges, and as part of the government’s homecharge scheme, drivers save £350 on the cost of a domestic charging point.

The research also found drivers consider running costs (45%), environmental concerns (42%) and tax incentives (11%) to be the biggest benefits of owning an electric car.

Watch: The £2bn Green Home Grants scheme explained