'UK drivers would only need to charge an electric car 20 times a year'

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The average British motorist would only need to charge an electric car once every three weeks – with most drivers hardly needing to use the public charging network, according to Hyundai. 

In a UK poll, the Korean motor manufacturer found that 85 per cent of motorists are worried about an EV running out of battery and having nowhere to charge.

This is despite the average driver, surveyed by Hyundai, only driving 108 miles per week, which is just over a third of the claimed 289-mile range of its current Kona Electric on a single charge. 

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The poll of 2,000 motorists revealed more than half (56 per cent) are considering an electric car as their next vehicle.

But it also uncovered a raft of concerns that need to be dispelled in order for the vast majority of drivers to ditch their petrol and diesel motors. 

Not least continued fears about range and charging. 

That’s despite the average motorists completing the survey claiming they cover 5,616 miles per year, based on a weekly distance of 108 miles.

The range-topping Hyundai Kona Electric with the 64kWh battery could cover that annual mileage with less than 20 full charges, based on its claimed eco performance.  

Hyundai’s study also found that six in 10 (61 per cent) of respondents said they had a driveway or garage to install a home charger.

This means most drivers would ‘very rarely need to use any of the UK’s public charging network,’ says the motor brand.

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Despite this, 85 per cent of the licence-holding panel said there are worried that there are not enough public charging points available to cope with the increasing demand from EVs.

Hyundai says there are almost 25,000 publicly-accessible chargers across the UK – almost five times as many as there were in 2016 and numbers will accelerate as Britain nears the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

More than a third (35 per cent) like the idea of an electric car but are worried they won’t understand how to drive one. This rises to 72 per cent among 18-to-24-year-olds. 

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Ashley Andrew, managing director at Hyundai UK, said there are still ‘a number of obstacles we need to overcome’ when it comes to persuading Britons to covert to electric cars.

‘We’ve found the barriers to making the switch for first-time electric owners are education on how the car will fit into your lifestyle as well as getting to grips with slightly different terminology compared to traditional petrol and diesel vehicles.

‘There is very little difference between driving an electric car compared to one with a combustion engine, and many find an EV is actually easier.’

The research also found more than half of those polled (57 per cent) don’t understand the terminology around electric cars.

Just a fifth (20 per cent) of motorists understood what ’64kWh’ – the battery size – related to on an electric car, according to the study.

And 76 per cent think companies which have staff parking should be installing charging points to encourage employees to have an electric car. 

Trade body outlines the eco-impact of more drivers switching to EVs 

The latest sustainability report released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows that UK fleet average carbon emissions were down by a record-breaking 11.8 per cent in 2020 as the pandemic failed to curb the increasing demand for EVs.

Battery models accounted for more than one in 10 new car registrations in 2020, while there was a 90 per cent increase for plug-in hybrid cars in the same 12-month period. 

As of last year, alternatively fuelled vehicles (including 100 per cent electric cars, plug-in hybrids and self-charging hybrids) account for 18.8 per cent of all cars built in the UK – up from 14.8 per cent in 2019. 

The market share for electric cars alone is 4.5 per cent, SMMT manufacturing records show.

It adds that these vehicles are being produced with 14.2 per cent less energy and 36.8 per cent less water per vehicle than in the year 2000 and total combined waste to landfill has fallen 98.7 per cent.

Carbon dioxide outputs per vehicle also fell by more than a third (36.5 per cent) compared to two decades ago. 

The trade body applauded UK car manufacturers for continuing to invest in employee development, training and apprenticeships, though said the industry’s progression needs to be matched by rapid deployment of EV charging infrastructure.

The report also clarified that the UK automotive sector saw a 24.6 per cent year-on-year decline in turnover last year to £60.2billion as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, turnover is 25.7 per cent higher than it was in 1999.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: ‘The impact of the pandemic on a sector such as automotive – one which depends on global supply lines, strong consumer demand and a highly skilled workforce – was always going to be severe. As the latest sustainability report shows, economic and market growth stalled with many factories shuttered and retail closed.

‘Yet the pandemic also proved the importance of the sector as it turned its capabilities to PPE and ventilator manufacture and assured the nation’s mobility through the continued servicing and repair of vehicles. 

‘Despite the adversity, the industry’s commitment and investment in zero-emission vehicles remained undiminished, delivering the best-ever single year of fleet average carbon reduction.

‘Much more needs to be done on this and so many other sustainability indicators, to which the sector looks to the Government to ensure the framework, incentives and infrastructure exist to enhance our competitiveness and deliver the sustainable future society demands.’

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