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07 September 23 Press releases

Fewer than half of drivers willing to make electric vehicle switch – Auto Trader


  • Only 47% of drivers think EVs will fit in with their lifestyle, according to Road to 2030 report
  • Expense and worries over lack of charging points are key concerns
  • Affordability gap widens for new EVs with just 9 models on sale for less than £30k
  • Ministers “need to end this charging injustice” warns Auto Trader’s Ian Plummer as those charging at home save £100 more per 1000 miles driven compared to those charging in public


London, 7th September 2023. Fewer than half of drivers are currently willing to embrace electric cars as concerns over affordability and charging prevent consumers from making the switch, according to new Auto Trader research.

The latest Road to 2030 report from the UK’s largest online vehicle marketplace reveals the barriers to mass adoption as the 2030 deadline on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles approach. Its research, based on a poll of 4,000 drivers across the UK, reveals just 47% of drivers consider that owning an EV would fit in with their lifestyle.

The research, which comes ahead of World EV Day on September 9th, shows that 56% of drivers consider EVs too expensive, with 47% worried over a lack of charging points[1]. Despite the average household only needing to plug in once a week, two-fifths of drivers believe they would have to charge their cars every three days­[2].

The affordability barriers are underlined by the shrinking of new EVs on sale for less than £30,000, with just nine models now compared to 11 at the end of 2022. The handful of affordable new EVs contrasts with 87 diesel and petrol models on sale below £30,000. New EVs are still on average 33% more expensive than traditionally fueled vehicles, throwing up further barriers to mass market adoption.

Auto Trader’s report reveals a 23% slide in used EV prices over the past 12 months, bringing greener options within reach of more drivers. According to Auto Trader data, more than a quarter of all used EVs were priced under £20,000 in August – up from 7% a year earlier. EVs between three and five years old have seen even bigger price drops of 40%, making some EV models such as the Nissan Leaf cheaper than petrol or diesel equivalents for the first time. As a result of the price drops attracting buyers, used EVs are selling as quickly as petrol and diesel vehicles, with all types taking 28 days to sell in August.

But while the oversupply of EVs has been effective in driving down used prices and encouraging consumers to consider the switch, uptake is still limited to wealthier drivers as concerns over affordability and charging hold back the push towards mass adoption. Auto Trader is calling for the Government to make EVs more affordable by using incentives in the tax system rather than relying on unsustainable market dynamics.

EV drivers with access to home charging can typically save £142 per 1000 miles compared to just £41 per 1000 for those relying on more expensive public charging points, on which VAT is also charged at the full 20% rate. Auto Trader is calling for equal VAT treatment for public and private charging points, and the use of incentives such as VAT cuts on the sale of used EVs and cheaper financing deals for new models, to adoption beyond wealthier income groups with access to home charging. The company is also pressing for improved information on battery health to bolster both consumer and retailer confidence in used models.

Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, said:


There is still much more work to be done to achieve a mass transition to electric vehicles before the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel models and ensure no driver is left behind. Support from the tax system to put the used EV market on a more sustainable footing is vital for the sustainability of the entire EV market and our chances of successfully transitioning to EVs by 2030.

Key spokesperson

Ian Plummer

Commercial Director



Plummer continued:

“Consumers are still worried about affordability and charging, which is why we need a clear statement of intent from the Government. Penalising drivers who have to charge in public with higher VAT is simply unfair: we need to end this charging injustice.”

“Those charging their EVs at home can save £142 per 1000 miles compared to a £41 saving for EV drivers using public charging points. There are real benefits to be had but they need to be shared more widely across society.”



About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK’s largest automotive marketplace. It listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

Auto Trader’s purpose is Driving Change Together. Responsibly. Auto Trader is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture, it aims to build stronger partnerships with its customers and use its voice and influence to drive more environmentally friendly vehicle choices.

With the largest number of car buyers and the largest choice of trusted stock, Auto Trader’s marketplace sits at the heart of the UK car buying process. That marketplace is built on an industry-leading technology and data platform, which is increasingly used across the automotive industry. Auto Trader is continuing to bring more of the car buying journey online, creating an improved buying experience, whilst enabling all its retailer partners to sell vehicles online.

Auto Trader publishes a monthly used car Retail Price Index which is based on pricing analysis of circa 800,000 unique vehicles. This data is used by the Bank of England to feed the broader UK economic indicators.

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[1] QuMind survey of 4000 UK adults, August 2023

[2] Opinium survey of 2000 UK adults, August 2023

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