Almost three in 10 drivers are waiting six months to get hold of an electric vehicle amid continued supply chain disruption, new research has revealed.
A global shortage of semiconductors, a backlog caused by lockdown and the war in Ukraine, is strangling production, according to motor experts.
There are also signs that the delays could push motorists towards hybrid models, which rely on petrol or diesel to increase their limited range.
The average waiting time for those trying to lease an electric vehicle was around four months, while 28pc of drivers had to wait at least six months, said Churchill Expert, a division of the insurance company.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “The global chip shortage is one of the chief reasons the supply of new electric cars hasn’t been able to keep up with demand, with car makers forced to slow down production of new vehicles.
“While we hope a corner has been turned and lead times will come down, it remains to be seen what effect the cost of living crisis has on overall demand for electric vehicles going forwards.”
Churchill sampled the views of 500 fleet drivers last month, with its expert adding that the results were “just as applicable” to everyday motorists because of industry-wide supply issues.
Some models can take even longer to get hold of. Ginny Buckley, founder of car website Electrifying.com, said that those hoping for the Volkswagen ID.3 or MG ZS EV may have to wait more than 12 months.
A quarter of respondents said they would consider a hybrid vehicle – sales of which will be banned from 2035 – if it meant their order arrived faster.
A similar proportion said they were prepared to change the vehicle’s trim and colour, or choose a different model, for the same reason.
Almost a third opted for an electric car because they are exempt from Ultra Low Emission Zone charges, which are £12.50 a day in London.
Ian Plummer, Auto Trader’s commercial director, said that semiconductor shortages had “massively exacerbated” the supply constraints caused by lockdown.
He added: “Electric vehicles experienced the brunt of the shortage as they require significantly more semiconductors.
“Although we’re seeing signs of improvement, we’re not anticipating any imminent return to normal supply levels, so lengthy lead times will likely remain for some time to come.”