Electric shock: electric vehicle owners respond to spiralling energy prices by taking matters into their own hands

Thursday 25th August 2022

With volatile fuel prices driving 15 million1 drivers to consider switching to electric,

Novuna reveals how current EV drivers are handling the price cap rise  

  • One in three (35%) drivers of petrol/diesel vehicles are now ‘extremely’ concerned about rising fuel prices, with half now expecting their next car will be an EV
  • Despite significantly lower overall running costs, even EV drivers are beginning to worry about energy prices hitting over £3,500 a year2 and looking for ways to soften the blow
  • Five in six of those with a home charger say they would rent it out for extra income, while a quarter are now exploring electricity generation at home

25 August – The rising cost of living is prompting owners of electric vehicles (EVs) to consider new ways to cover skyrocketing electricity bills, according to new research from leading car financier Novuna Vehicle Solutions. Five in six (85%) drivers of EVs say they would join the revolution and make their home charger available to the public if they could charge fellow motorists to use it, while one in four (27%) are considering fitting solar panels or heat pumps to reduce reliance on the National Grid.

The findings, based a poll of 2,000 motorists conducted in July, are released at a time when rising energy bills are pushing inflation to a 40-year high. Energy regulator Ofgem is set to announce a record jump in the energy price cap on Friday, with current forecasts warning of a near doubling of the average energy bill from £1,971 to £3,5532 this winter.

Fuel prices have also hit fresh highs in 2022, with a litre of petrol now selling for 191.5p, and diesel for more than £2 per litre in some UK regions3. Novuna’s research found that one in three (35%) drivers of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are “extremely” concerned about the current cost of fuel, and half (50%) are now likely to switch to an EV for their next car.

Drivers of fully-electric vehicles are still enjoying significant savings on running costs compared to ICE drivers, with 9 in 10 (91%) saying they still feel “smug” about not needing petrol or diesel when charging up. Recent analysis from climate action site Carbon Brief4 found that the average cost of filling up a 55-litre petrol car in the UK was around £100, while charging an EV to travel the equivalent distance was only £37.

However, none of that has stopped them finding ways to take matters into their own hands. With more than 400,0005 privately owned EV chargers and homeowners with off-street parking able to charge up to £3,000 a year6 by sharing their charger with neighbours, so called ‘community charging’ is facilitating EV adoption for drivers who cannot install an EV charger at home whilst providing extra income for hosts renting out their charger.

Jon Lawes, Managing Director, Novuna Vehicle Solutions said:

“The rising cost-of-living means households are considering all sorts of cost-cutting options ahead of what is quickly shaping up to be a winter of discontent. EV drivers who have previous benefitted from favourable home charging tariffs might now be looking to monetise their charger, to help with spiralling costs.

“It’s also encouraging to see that half of UK motorists are on board with the benefits of EVs, and now say they are likely to get one for their next car. Although the upfront cost of an EV might look more expensive in some cases, the long-term running costs will almost always be lower than for a petrol or diesel car, even accounting for soaring energy prices.”

Shifting gear to save energy

Both ICE and EV vehicle drivers have been adapting their driving behaviour to reduce their operating costs. Two in three (63%) ICE drivers and two in five (42%) EV owners are trying to drive more efficiently, employing methods such as driving more cautiously, not leaving the window open, and making sure to empty the boot to make the car lighter.

Meanwhile, a quarter (24%) of EV drivers have begun to use their cars less frequently, electing to use other modes of transportation. Other cost-cutting measures include motorists taking extra care to charge their EV at home more regularly in order to avoid higher tariffs on public charge points. A third (32%) said they had taken this action.

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Notes to Editors

References

1 = Novuna surveyed 1,000 ICE drivers, 50% of whom revealed they are now likely to get an EV as their next vehicle due to rising fuel prices. The Department for Transport records there being 18.6m petrol and 11.4m diesel cars in the UK. 50% of this figure is 15m.

2 = https://www.cornwall-insight.com/press/cornwall-insight-release-final-predictions-for-octobers-price-cap/

3 = https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/fuel-watch/

4 = https://twitter.com/DrSimEvans/status/1534901803703222272?s=20&t=1dqiiqQaeXvdWprngsy

5 = https://co-charger.com/

6 = https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/1583989/EV-charging-homeowners-driveways-fee

Methodology

The findings are the result of an Opinium omnibus research study conducted from July 15th to July 22nd, 2022. During this time, 2,000 UK drivers were surveyed, 574 were drivers of a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – referred to as EV in the press release.