The UK government is one of the more proactive ones in Europe when it comes to electromobility – it is electrifying public transport, investing in charging infrastructure, and offering cash grants to EV buyers (and, in Scotland, interest-free loans).
The UK Department for Transport has released a report detailing the results of its efforts so far, based on a range of surveys, EV trials and other research.
“Uptake of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles in the UK” finds that the market for what the Brits call ULEVs (and we Yanks call plug-in and fuel cell vehicles) has grown quickly, surpassing 1% of total new car sales in Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 – similar to the proportion in the US, France and Germany.
The report found that PHEVs account for around two-thirds of ULEVs being sold in the UK, and BEVs a third. Most British EV owners are what one would expect: middle-aged, male, well-educated, affluent, living in urban areas with the ability to charge at home.
ULEVs are typically used as the main car in a household, with a second car on hand for occasional long journeys. Drivers charge mostly at home and at work, but also favor improved public charging to make longer journeys possible.
The report finds that the current public charging network in the UK is comparable to those in countries with more developed EV markets.
The researchers also looked into the commercial EV market, and found that most fleet EV owners are private sector businesses with fewer than 500 employees and small to medium-size fleets. Many are testing the waters with one or a few EVs to assess their viability.
The best news of all: most electric drivers are chuffed with their ULEVs, and positive about buying another in the future. Among potential buyers, the most commonly cited objections are range anxiety, high prices, and a lack of knowledge about electric vehicles.