The obstacles preventing car owners from switching to electric vehicles have reduced to the one and only factor in many countries, which is pricing. It is the case for UK consumers at least.
Taiwanese readers may come up with several reasons to not purchase electric vehicles, such as the driving range, insufficient number of charging piles, and inconvenience maintenance. However, UK consumers, according to the latest survey, believe that they are willing to give it a go if the prices are justified.
The Driving Away From Fossil Fuels study from the UK surveys car owners each year on their willingness in purchasing electric vehicles, and has been going on for more than a decade. Back in 2011, only 1% of the interviewees were willing to switch to electric vehicles if they are priced identically to fossil-fuel vehicles, and the figure rose to 2% in 2015.
However, the results for 2022’s survey indicate that 100% of the 2000 surveyed potential car owners are willing to switch from fossil-fuel vehicles to electric vehicles if they are offered in the same price. Electric vehicles mentioned in the survey include BEV and PHEV, but not hybrid.
The report also pointed out that 81% of new car owners who were surveyed are in possession of different forms of private parking space, which means that they would be charging their vehicles at home most of the time, and that is also one of the main reasons why it is easier for UK car owners to switch to electric vehicles.
In other words, opposing the ban on fossil-fuel vehicles by 2030 using the argument of insufficient public charging facilities will not cut it for the UK, since let’s say all households in the country are switched to electric vehicles, there would only be roughly 9 million households that require charging outdoor, which is approximately 1/4 to the national population.
This is also the reason why the UK government had asked that all new constructions must be equipped with smart charging piles, which not only increases the willingness to switch to electric vehicles, but also contributes to the balance of power for the grid, allowing electric vehicles to charge during off hours and serve as a power buffer when electricity is under severe availability.
A similar comparison for the Taiwan market would be whether one is willing to switch to the BEV or PHEV version of the best-selling Toyota Altis if an electric version is released at the same price.
This would depend on the survey subjects’ understanding of the word “equivalent”, since it would mean models of the same or similar configurations, though it is rather fascinating to imagine the respondents’ interpretation towards the driving range of models at the same level. From the approval of 100%, we can guess that that the respondents should believe that the driving range is identical between models of the same grade, alongside identical prices. If the condition is brought to Taiwan, at least 80% if not 90% of the car owners would reply Yes.
With that being said, the reality is often cruel, and lithium batteries have not been dropping in prices on a continual basis as projected a year ago, but have rather surged in prices due to the fight of stocks among various manufacturers, which led to an increase in electric vehicle prices. It just might take several years before we see identical prices between electric and fossil-fuel vehicles.
(Cover photo source: Hyundai)