Nearly half of the UK public say they will never buy an electric car because of a lack of charging points, according to a new survey.
The cost of EVs is the other major reason why 46 per cent of people say they would not buy one in the future, the survey by Ford Motors has found.
The findings highlight the challenge the Government faces as it prepares to bring forward the deadline to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles, including plug-in hybrid models.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps has suggested the date will be brought forward to 2032, but it is under pressure to make it as early as 2030.
EVs currently account for just 5 per cent of new cars, but sales doubled in August even as the overall market fell.
More than half of respondents to the Ford survey said they were put off buying an EV because of the price. Most EVs are significantly more expensive than similar petrol or diesel models, even with Government subsidies, with the cheapest starting from around £17,000.
Ford’s all-electric cars start from £40,000. But electric models have proven to be cheaper over their lifetime, taking into account fuel prices.
Ford called for a minister for electrification to be established to coordinate a comprehensive cross-government strategy and help demystify the market.
Andy Barratt, Managing Director at Ford of Britain said: “Given the size and scale of what we want to achieve in the UK, we need to kick-start this process.
“A fast start could include the creation of a specific senior role in government to help coordinate a comprehensive electrification strategy for the UK – a “Minister for Electrification” who can work cross-functionally across government and with the various stakeholders.”
Mr Shapps has described himself as an “electric head” who drives an EV for pleasure and is keen to bring forward the ban. But the Government has faced repeated warnings in recent months that the country’s infrastructure is not ready for the full phase-out of electric vehicles.
The motoring industry body SMMT has said the country needs new charging points to be installed at the rate of 507 a day by 2035, at a cost of £16.7bn. That would bring the total number of charging stations to 2.8 million from the current 19,300.
It has also called for sales of plug-in hybrid markets to be allowed to continue after the 2035 deadline to ban ICE vehicles and for subsidies to be extended for what they say is a vital transition technology.
Edmund King, the president of AA said that while the transition to EVs was moving in the right direction, more must be done to help drivers.
“The automotive world is going through a radical transition with more change likely in the next decade than in the last hundred years. We need to help drivers overcome perceived myths about EVs and charging.
He added: “It is incredibly encouraging that almost half of drivers will consider an EV for their next car.”
The move to bring forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2030 has widespread support from environmental and green transport groups, including from the Government’s own advisers the Committee on Climate Change, and around 100 Conservative MPs.
Paul Morozzo, transport campaigner at Greenpeace UK said combatting wariness from car buyers required a “two-tiered approach”.
“Bringing forward the ban on new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles to 2030 will result in a significant increase in investment from the industry that will drive down prices and accelerate sales. Simultaneously, the government needs to ramp up the rollout of charging points – this will give people confidence that they’ll never run out juice.”
A DfT spokesperson said: “We have delivered a world-leading package to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles, including a £2.5bn programme to support grants for plug in vehicles and funding for chargepoint infrastructure in homes, workplaces and across the wider roads network.
“We are committed to looking at new ways to work with industry to reduce carbon emissions and boost economic growth in the UK. That includes supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles alongside our consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.”