Automotive brands won’t hit 10% EV purchase without education finds study

Lack of education is a major barrier to electric vehicle (EV) adoption, new research from Encore Digital Media reveals, with very low awareness of EVs (18%) but a high appetite to find out more (59%). Specialists in targeting niche automotive audiences online, Encore Digital Media partnered with Savanta to survey 2,000 UK drivers in a nationally representative study. 

 The study shows key barriers to EV adoption include lack of education, infrastructure and higher cost  

  • Although four out of ten could name Tesla, the next best known EV brand was BMW named by just 18%and other brands struggling to get above 15% 
  • 31% of the population believe that electric vehicles need more infrastructure with recharge time (42%) and lack of information (34%) being other key barriers
  • All age groups consider the EV expensiveaverage car spend is £14,000 whereas the average cost of an electric vehicles falls around £32,000
  • Only 11% of all respondents claimed to be happy to pay upwards of £35,000 for an EV

The study found that EV misconceptions are still rife with over half of the audience (53%) not knowing you can charge an EV with a normal household plug. One in five of the audience didn’t know that you don’t pay Road Tax if you have an electric car. Two thirds also didn’t know that the battery is charged every time an EV driver hits the brakes. 

 Three distinct purchasing groups emerged in the research:  

  • 18-24 year olds who are much open and interested in EV
  • 25-54 year olds who are not averse but do have distinct concerns. This audience are most likely to turn to the halfway house of a Hybrid. 
  • 55+ year olds who are significantly harder to convince

 Just over half of over 55s (54%) class the technology as experimental and 7 out of 10 deem it unproven. Even with an improvement in technology, less than a third (28%) would consider buying an EV. In contrast, the most receptive group are 1824 year olds with 2 out of 3 interested in EVs, yet fewer than almost nine out of ten of them saying they wouldn’t consider purchase. Style of EV is all-important to over half of them.  

 Lower running costs (63%) and being better for the environment (64%) were the biggest benefits for two thirds of the audience overall, with the latter being most important for an under 25 audience and the former for the over 25s. However, performance isn’t an issue, with just 20% saying they believe performance be a barrier to purchase.  

 There is no desire for space-age designs with the majority of respondents wanting EVs to look like normal cars. Interestingly, despite the perception of EV’s being a mode of transport most appealing to city dwellers, there is an interest towards EV in towns (59%) and villages (55%). This is in contrast to just 3% more in terms of level of interest in cities. 

 Russell Kearney, Head of Automotive at Encore Digital Media, comments: “Instead of brands simply announcing they’re going electric, investment in educating on the benefits and myth busting the negative perceptions is vital.”

 “While performance concerns with EV aren’t as prevalent as expected, concerns on range and infrastructure are coming through loud and clear. Brands need to offer different ways to alleviate these issues such as longer test drives or charging installation. The three distinctive age and life stage groups give brands a great starting point as they need to target these segments with clearly different strategies and messaging.”

 “At the moment, there are just too many risks and unknowns that the average car owner has to overcome before taking the step to an EV. Whilst this is a problem, it also presents brands with a great opportunity to take the lead in educating drivers on the benefits of alternative fuel in order to replace the decline in sales of traditional fuel types.” 

 For full survey results and more information please contact either Jessica Morgan or Stephanie Palmer on:  

  [email protected] or 07947 008 071  

[email protected] or 07472 420 080  


  1. The biggest challenge is educating the dealers and persuading them to sell a less profitable product. That’s a hard sell; any dealer who also have combustion cars to sell (and plentiful availability) is always going to sell those in preference to EVs that are less profitable and in most cases on a long waiting list. Government policy will help, the company car tax for 2020/2021 will drive a lot of high-value EV sales which will provide great used cars when they come off lease 3 years later.
    Fleet managers may be sceptical at this point (that’s a valid stance), but should be hugely impressed by the lower cost of ownership. We just need to ensure the manufacturers make them in useful quantities so people who want to can buy an EV (almost all are on long waiting list currently)