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‘Why I ditched my Tesla for a 12-year-old petrol car’

EV
EV

Have you decided to ditch your electric car in favour of petrol? Email money@telegraph.co.uk

Owners of electric cars are ditching battery power and returning to petrol as demand for greener vehicles drops across Britain.

Range anxiety, a lack of public charging points and limited incentives are the key factors behind the dwindling desire for electric motors.

Car dealership chain Motorpoint Group said the majority of electric vehicle (EV) owners who sold their car in the last year didn’t buy another one – opting instead for a petrol, diesel or hybrid model.

The trend is continuing in 2024, with the latest registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing a 2pc fall in EV uptake since last May.

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Uptake is strong in the fleet market where volumes have risen 11pc in the last year, as businesses continue to offer employee benefits such as salary sacrifice to take on an electric car.

But convincing the mass market to make the switch to battery power is proving a hard task.

The difficulty comes as the Government falls well short of its car charging infrastructure targets, while increased tax charges are coming into force from next year, forcing EV drivers to pay an extra £180 a year in vehicle excise duty.

Mark Carpenter, chief executive at Motorpoint, said consumer confidence in EVs has been “undoubtedly impacted” by a multitude of factors.

“It’s clear that some drivers have found an electric vehicle isn’t right for them,” he said.

“There doesn’t seem to be one reason for it – instead it tends to be a range of practical, financial and lifestyle factors that lead motorists to the decision.

“Until we see proper financial incentives for EV buyers from the Government to meet its 2035 target, along with greater investment in charging infrastructure, I’m concerned we’ll see more motorists turn their backs on electric vehicles.”

Statistics from Motorpoint show that only 30pc of EV owners part-exchanging their car in the past year chose to buy another electric car, with 36pc opting for petrol, 11pc diesel and 23pc hybrid.

Martin Bamford, a Tesla owner for four years, is one of the many electric car owners to switch back to combustion power in recent months.

Despite driving a mostly trouble-free 34,000 miles, he suffered “instances of extreme range anxiety” and is ditching the zero-emission motor in favour of a 12-year-old Mini Cooper.

“I had a nightmare drive of around 1,000 miles up to Scotland and back a couple of months ago, including a long stop at a service station where all of the Tesla Superchargers were out of action,” he said.

“The cost of electricity has also gone up since I bought it in 2020. The benefit in kind tax (BIK) charge, which I got from it being a company car, has also increased making it slightly less financially attractive to drive than it previously was.”

More than a third of British homes do not have off-street parking, meaning they cannot rely on home charging to top up their vehicles. Instead they need to rely on public chargers, which are notoriously expensive.

The typical cost of charging at home is 24 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared with an average of 80 pence per kWh at public chargers, according to data provider Zap Map.

For many electric cars, that amounts to a difference of more than £20 for a full charge.

The SMMT said new incentives should be brought in to entice people to go electric. It has suggested temporarily halving VAT on new EV purchases, combined with a cut in the VAT levied on public charging from 20pc to 5pc.

Doing so would “drive up demand, putting more than a quarter of a million EVs on the road instead of petrol or diesel cars over the next three years”, the trade body said.

Manufacturers argue there has been a continued lack of incentive for drivers to go electric after the “plug in grant” for EVs, which previously allowed buyers to knock £2,500 off the price of their purchase, was withdrawn in June 2022.

Marques including Tesla have been cutting their prices this year in an effort to boost flagging sales, yet interest continues to wane.

Electric cars still cost significantly more than a similar diesel or petrol model, and insurance premiums are higher. Figures from comparison website Compare the Market show the average driver pays £740 to insure an EV, compared to £400 for a petrol car.

Research from Auto Trader earlier this year found that a motorist buying a £50,000 electric car could expect to lose £24,000 in value over three years, while a similarly priced petrol car would lose only £17,000.

Under government net zero rules, at least 22pc of new cars sold by a manufacturer this year must be zero emission. The threshold will rise annually to 100pc by 2035.

Carmakers face fines for failing to hit the targets, levied at £15,000 per vehicle above the threshold.