The future of transport, and in particular the electrification of vehicles, has been a major focus for policymakers, car manufacturers and infrastructure providers over the past decade.
In 2010, the Nissan Leaf became the world’s first mass-produced 100% electric car. Since then, there has been a big shift in attitudes and policies around electric vehicles. UK Government targets set after COP21 in Paris in 2015 included a commitment for almost all vehicles to be zero emissions by 2050. And in 2017 the Government announced that it wants to ban the sale of conventional vehicles by 2040. The Committee on Climate Change advocates for even stronger policies, advising that in order for the Government to meet its commitments on climate change, 60% of the UK’s car and van sales should be electric by 2030. And over the last year, well known car brands have become increasingly committed to the electric cause – for example, Ford, the best-selling carmaker in the UK today, plans to have 40 electrified models in its global lineup by 2022 while Volkswagen, the second best-selling carmarker, is targeting 80 electrified models by 2025.
100% electric cars have been heralded by some as the solution to the biggest challenges facing the automotive industry. Running purely off a battery and not requiring petrol/diesel fuel, they can help lower carbon emissions and reduce the NOx and particulate emissions that are causing serious health problems in many urban areas, and are also less expensive to run. However, 100% electric cars currently make up only a percentage (0.1%) of the UK’s total car fleet. It will be up to consumers how fast that proportion grows.
But what does the public think about 100% electric cars? Are we really that close to achieving an all-electric future, and will the right infrastructure be in place to handle this? What policies and incentives are needed to increase uptake?
This report provides insights to help answer these pressing questions. It summarises the results of consumer research we conducted in June 2017 and again in March 2018, allowing us to see how public perceptions towards 100% electric cars have changed. By understanding consumer views of fully-electric vehicles, we can identify the areas in which further work is required if we are to successfully convince the public of the benefits of electric cars, ensure the correct infrastructure is in place to support an increase in uptake, and deliver the environmental benefits that they promise.