Skip to main content

UK SMEs remain lukewarm about electric vehicles

  • 41% say that EVs represent the future of motorised transport in the UK

  • 30% of respondents have driven an EV but 58% would buy one if more incentives were available

  • Nearly a third (29%) of firms offer charging points for their employees

UK SMEs remain to be persuaded that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of motorised transport in the UK, despite many being convinced by their environmental benefits, according to the latest data from Close Brothers Asset Finance.

The survey of 900 firms conducted in April 2019 shows that while 41% think EVs will becoming ubiquitous over time, for 36% it’s ‘too early to tell’ and for the remaining 23% it’s a definite ‘no’.

In spite of the scepticism about the eventual part EVs will play in some quarters, nearly 3 out of every 5 respondents (57%) say the vehicles are environmentally positive (compared to the current options).

“The recent report by the Transport Research Laboratory stated that only one in four people would consider buying a fully electric car in the next five years,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “Our research shows that while only 30% of those polled had ever driven an electric car, the majority (59%) would consider purchasing an EV if more incentives were available; this figure rises to 73% for London business owners, where the Ultra Low Emissions Zones were recently implemented.”

Inhibiting factors

‘Range anxiety’ is often cited as the primary reason for lack of EV uptake and, while important, both the lack of public charging points and the cost of vehicles rank higher in respondents’ list of concerns.

“As the technology improves, issues with range will become less of factor,” said Neil. “And while it makes the top 3 reasons hindering the update of EVs, the lack of public charging points and 'cost of vehicles' were first and second; interestingly, nearly 60% of respondents said they would consider purchasing an EV if there were more incentives available.”

Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a Lightspeed survey conducted in April 2019. The survey canvassed the opinion of 900 SME owners across the UK and Ireland and across several industries on a range of issues affecting their businesses.