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ONE of the main barriers to owning an electric car might be caused by a modern obsession with needing fully charged personal devices.

New research from Volkswagen Financial Services UK (VWFS) shows that more than half of Brits (55%) panic if they know their phone or laptop will run out of battery, which suggests that charging anxiety among EV considerers could be influenced more by human psychology than scepticism about the UK’s public charging network.

Charging anxiety is the uncertainty people feel when contemplating a longer journey in an EV because of concerns about how and where to recharge their vehicle’s battery.

The findings also reveal that Gen Z and Millennials (77%) are most likely to panic if their personal device were to run out of battery. However, this age group are most likely to be prepared by owning a portable charger (68%).

Despite an uneasy disposition to low battery life, younger people are more convinced than any other generation that electric cars will benefit the environment, with 66% of 18 – 24 year olds believing this to be true. Only 22% of this age group said they were not convinced, compared to 44% of people aged 65 – 74 and 36% of over 75s.

The exclusive research found that affordability remains the top issue for would-be EV drivers, with 38% saying that they cannot afford an EV, although 72% would consider an EV as their next car if money wasn’t an issue.

The charging conundrum

The second most cited concern is around the current public charging network.

Three in 10 people (31%) believe there are not enough charging points in the areas where they live and work, however, when we consider the average length of each car journey in the UK is fewer than 10 miles, this could be another reflection of the nation’s skewed attitudes to battery life.

Furthermore, Volkswagen Financial Services UK data shows that 75% of people would expect their electric vehicle to travel up to 300 miles on a single charge, and as an example, the all-electric Volkswagen ID.3 can travel up to 340 miles on a single charge, which is in line with WLTP (combined) data.

Add to this that almost 9 in 10 people (88%) ensure their devices are fully charged before leaving home, with over half deciding to charge their devices overnight (52%) as well as using battery saver modes (55%).

This fuels food for thought that home charging points would be the most beneficial option for many electric car drivers, but with factors such as lack of off-road parking for some households, and rising energy prices, more needs to be done to address this to aid a wider transition to electric.

When questioned about their expectations for charging times before resuming a journey, 32% of respondents said they would be prepared to wait up to an hour, with just 12% saying they would be happy to wait for longer.

Indeed, 32% said they would only pause journeys for 30 minutes to charge their EV, and just over one in ten (12%) wanted the waiting time to be less than 10 minutes.

Regional findings

 People living in Scotland are most on board with the idea that mainstream adoption of electric cars will positively impact the environment, with just 29% of people disagreeing with this sentiment.

Scots were also found to be the UK’s most patient demographic, with 16% of respondents saying they would be willing to wait more than an hour for their EV to charge to 100%.

In addition, people from the North of England are most committed to buying an electric car despite the rising cost of electricity, with one in four (25%) not put off purchasing an EV despite increasing energy bills.

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