Why we can’t be bothered to go electric.
Electric cars have never been more talked about, desirable or exciting. With our European neighbours increasingly going green, and with several car manufacturers planning to ditch diesel and petrol motors, what’s stopping us from embracing electric?
Plastic bags, microbeads and disposable coffee cups have all faced criticism in recent years, but none have faced quite as much vitriol as gas-guzzling, polluting, petrol and diesel vehicles.
Enter electric and hybrid cars – the sustainable future of the motor industry. Not only are they clean and green (modern electric cars produce zero tailpipe emissions), they’ve had a makeover. Electric vehicles have evolved into high-spec, sophisticated machines.
Luxury car manufacturers like Tesla have played a huge part in boosting the appeal of electric vehicles, with sleek designs and semi-automated features making its cars exciting to own and drive. People are interested – more than 4 million people Googled Tesla last year.
Other luxury brands such as BMW, Porsche and Jaguar all boast stylish electric models of their own, but there’s an ever-increasing range of affordable, chic versions on the market such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.
So why are we just not that in to them?
With their green credentials and increasingly stylish designs, why then do plug-in vehicles only make up 2.2 per cent of new car sales in the UK?1
Infrastructure plays a part. Range anxiety (fear of running out of power before you reach a charging point) is a huge turn-off for drivers and, of course, they’re expensive.
Add to this the myths surrounding electric vehicles – that they are slow to drive, expensive to charge and difficult to repair – and you can see why some motorists are reluctant to switch.
Modern electric vehicles are challenging these misconceptions. The Tesla Model S is one of the fastest-accelerating cars ever made and can travel for up to 383 miles on a single charge.
What, then, of the other concerns? Are they more expensive to run, insure and repair?
'Yes and no,' says Andreas Mavroudis, Senior Mobility Manager of Aviva’s Futures team. He continues:
Electric vehicles can be more expensive at point of purchase and can be slightly more expensive to insure. This is because, currently, they cost more to repair when something goes wrong.
As more consumers go electric, however, the cost of manufacturing and repairing these vehicles will fall – which will make the cost of buying and insuring them fall too.
Consumers shouldn’t be put off, as the cheaper cost of running an electric vehicle can, in some cases, offset the expense.
Indeed, it can cost as little as £3.88 to fully charge an electric vehicle at home, according to research by government and industry electric car campaign Go Ultra Low2.
The electric agenda
The virtues of electric cars have impressed the UK government, which is keen to encourage take-up.
The sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars will be phased out by 2040, and in Scotland as early as 2032, making electric a wise investment. To tempt consumers to ditch polluting motors, government grants will cover up to 35% of the purchase price of low-emission vehicles (to a maximum of £4,500)3.
Improved infrastructure is on its way too. The electric and autonomous vehicle act, recently passed by Parliament, makes it compulsory for large services stations to offer charging points and an extra £80m of government money has been allocated to create a point at least every 20 miles along England’s strategic route network4.
Notably, the act means that driverless cars (which tend to be electric) can be insured.
The road ahead
Most experts agree that the future of mobility is electric, regardless of how quickly we get there. At least 30 per cent of new car sales are expected to be ultra low emission models by 2030, and the government estimates that figure could be as high as 70 per cent.
'It’s not a question of if, but when, electric vehicles will become the norm,' predicts Mavroudis. 'This will be driven by government legislation and incentives, car manufacturers and, eventually, the adoption of autonomous vehicles.'
Car manufacturers are almost there. Volvo, GM and Jaguar Land Rover have all announced plans to electrify their lines by the early 2020s.
Significantly, electric vehicles have become almost synonymous now with the self-driving cars in development – cementing their place in motor industry future.
'Ultimately, the exciting automated features of modern electric cars, paired with an eventual reduction in cost, will be what tempts people to use them,' Mavroudis adds. Perhaps that green halo is just a bonus?
1. Figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 2018
2. Research by OnePoll on behalf of Go Ultra Low in June 2018
4. Government’s Clean Growth Strategy 2018
More of our Perspectives
31 Mar 2020
Shepper carries out Smart Asset Checks on properties and assets through a network of gig-economy ‘Shepherds’, providing bespoke inspection and information capture, both driving down costs and speeding up delivery of information to asset owners.
31 Mar 2020
Owlstone’s mission is to save 100,000 lives and save health care providers $1.5B.
About the Fund
31 Mar 2020
About the Fund
31 Mar 2020
Aviva Ventures makes investments in early-stage businesses that have the potential to transform the insurance industry.
Our numbers stand firm against storms
5 Mar 2020
Insurance exists to protect people’s property and livelihoods from extreme weather and catastrophe.
Saving (and) the world
5 Mar 2020
Helping people save for retirement is a growth opportunity for today’s insurers – but only if we protect the future our customers will retire into.
Time to invest in Mid-Lifers
24 Feb 2020
Traditionally, workers over the age of 45 have been thought of as “on their way out”. But today, Mid-Lifers are a growing proportion of the workforce. Investment in this age group must increase, to ensure their well being and experience are maximised, not overlooked.
Not ready to deal with a baby on my own
24 Feb 2020
We have offered Equal Parental Leave to our people since 2017. Here Becky and Kelly tell their story and the impact it has had on their lives since baby Ruby arrived.
Take action to shape your retirement
19 Feb 2020
Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva, reflects on the success of auto-enrolment in the UK and how more of us can take action to shape our own retirement.
UK pensions: millions need help
19 Feb 2020
The most important things in life are not always easy. Take pensions. With the onus now firmly on individuals to work out how best to manage their pension pot, millions in the UK are being set up for a fall.
Closing the climate protection gap
12 Feb 2020
The Aviva CEO talks to Aviva Investors' client publication, AIQ, about how the insurance industry is working to assess and manage the catastrophic risks of climate change.
Can we afford to live to 100?
19 Sep 2019
Retiring at 60 is a relatively new concept. As populations age – and age better – people are looking for ways to stay in work and sustain their retirement income. We present five charts that sum up the changing landscape.
Why not Fairtrade finance?
22 Jul 2019
We like to buy Fairtrade coffee. Why not Fairtrade finance, asks Steve Waygood.
Is this the end of the road for car insurance?
5 Jul 2019
Around the world, cars typically stand unused almost 98% of the time. And yet so many of us take on a huge financial burden just to own one. We pay out a significant amount every year to cover things like tax, fuel and, of course, car insurance.
The future of retirement
4 Jun 2019
The idea of stepping out of work at age 60 or so, and retiring, into a life of leisure is relatively recent. But with more people living longer, expectations of retirement are being reshaped.
A matter of taste
13 May 2019
Breakthroughs in food science are challenging beliefs that have driven global food producers to create products loaded with salt, sugar and hydrogenated fat. That is leaving the industry ripe for disruption.