Drivers aged 55+ are most sceptical about electric vehicles

May 09, 2023 by

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  • New research highlights concerns standing in the way of greater EV adoption
  • But opportunity is high: over-55s represent 42% of all licence holders in the UK – 17.4 million drivers
  • Car industry need to help drivers overcome EV concerns and meet government targets

9 May 2023, London: New research from carwow has identified that drivers aged 55 and over are the age group most reluctant to make the change to electric vehicles (EVs). This presents a significant challenge for UK motor retailers, as this is also the group carwow believes is best able to make the shift to electrified mobility.

Over two thirds (67%) of drivers polled aged 55+ say concern about price is currently putting them off acquiring an EV. This group is also more likely to cite the lack of charging infrastructure to support EVs as a reason why they would not give up their petrol or diesel car, with 43% saying it is a barrier, compared to just 23% of drivers aged under 44. A greater number of those aged 55 and over say they are unconvinced by the technology of EVs – a third (34%) of those surveyed said this would put them off making the switch, compared to just 20% of drivers under 44.

However, there are 17.4 million drivers with a full licence aged 55 and over, equivalent to 42% of the total UK driving population. This is typically the age group most likely to buy a new car, thanks to greater buying and borrowing power*, and people in this age bracket are more likely to live in larger homes with off-street parking for easy at-home charging**.

Hugo Griffiths, Consumer Editor at carwow, said: “Drivers in their mid-50s and above are, in many ways, ideal EV buyers. This demographic is more likely to have the off-street space for a home chargepoint, while disposable incomes also tend to be higher with the over 55s.

*Research by the investment research house Bernstein, 2018
**English Housing Survey – older people’s housing 2020-2021 – Around 60% or 14.4 million homes had an on plot parking space, with detached (96%), semi-detached (82%) and bungalows (77%) being more likely to have on plot parking. Most older (aged 65+) households (83%) live in detached or semi-detached houses or bungalows.

“If you regularly drive long distances then maybe an EV isn’t for you, but if, like most of us, your regular journeys are under 200 miles, then an EV should fit the bill perfectly.

“There is a real opportunity for more mature drivers to lead the way when it comes to EVs. We see a huge opportunity for the car industry to help educate this age group on the pros for EV ownership and address some of the misgivings around EVs mature drivers seem to have; if this is done, a precedent will be set for others to follow.”

Close to a quarter of EV drivers are 55 or older, making it the largest age group for EV drivers in the United Kingdom and suggesting that once these concerns are overcome, they’re the age group most likely to take up an electric car***.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that in April battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales reached 20,522 – up by 59.1%, year-on-year – while petrol-powered vehicles remained the most popular fuel type, comprising 42.8% of all sales in the month.

*** Statistica data from DfT survey on Electric Vehicle Charging Research