Recent data by Cupra reveals that seven in ten drivers anticipate owning a fully electric vehicle (EV) within the next decade, writes Alfonso Martinez, UK managing director at ALD Automotive and LeasePlan UK.

However, nearly two-thirds of non-EV drivers remain sceptical about making the switch.

These findings highlight a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of EVs. To address this, both government and businesses must play a crucial role in encouraging drivers to embrace electric vehicles.

Our conversations with drivers reflect the survey results: those who have switched to EVs find it hard to imagine returning to petrol or diesel vehicles. The benefits are clear – smooth and responsive steering, the quiet of a combustion-free engine, and zero carbon emissions. Yet, these advantages are often unknown to those who have never driven an EV. Our research indicates that only one in ten UK motorists have had the chance to drive an EV. Without firsthand experience, drivers tend to stick to what they know, resisting change.

So, how can we encourage more people to transition to EVs? First, we need to provide compelling incentives. Although many drivers understand the environmental benefits of EVs, perceived higher costs deter them from making the switch. Current government incentives, such as lower Benefit in Kind (BiK) rates for EVs and reduced VAT on home charging, are helpful but need to be expanded. Reducing VAT on public charging from 20% to 5%, aligning it with home charging costs, would make a significant difference, especially for drivers without off-street parking.

Moreover, the uncertainty around incentives like Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), which will be equalised for all cars from April 2025, sends mixed messages. This policy shift could hinder EV adoption at a time when the government is actively promoting battery-powered vehicles. Clear and consistent incentives are essential to encourage drivers to switch to EVs.

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Businesses also have a pivotal role in facilitating the transition to electric vehicles. Introducing incentives such as salary sacrifice schemes can motivate employees to choose EVs. These schemes offer a cost-effective route to EV ‘ownership,’ helping to overcome the financial barriers to adoption and allowing more drivers to experience the benefits of electric vehicles firsthand.

To accelerate the adoption of EVs, both government and businesses must work together to create a supportive environment. By providing better incentives and clearer policies, and by offering practical support such as salary sacrifice schemes, we can encourage more drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles, benefiting both the environment and society.

Alfonso Martinez is the UK Managing Director at ALD Automotive | LeasePlan UK