Car buyers over-55 less likely to choose electric, survey finds

Published 15 November 2019

The over-55s are the least likely to choose an electric car, a new survey has found.

The study by KPMG found that range anxiety (the distance the car can travel on one charge) was the biggest turn off for 75 per cent of drivers over the age of 55, while less than half (40 per cent) of drivers aged between 18-34 shared the same concern.

Registrations of electric cars increased by almost 152 per cent In October, but account for just 2.2 per cent of the market. Researchers spoke to 2001 drivers in September and found, while younger drivers are moving towards electric cars, the over 55s appear to be reluctant to do the same.

>>> Everything you need to know about EVs and electric cars

“Young people are typically more open to trying new things and there’s an element of expecting to have almost anything within a very short time span, if not instantly at the touch of a button," said Justin Benson, director and head of automotive at KPMG UK.

"This explains why those aged 18-34 were more concerned with the time it takes to charge, than how far one charge would take them.

“I don’t think there will be range anxiety in the future, especially given that 85 per cent of all journeys made in Britain are less than 15 miles." 

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The survey found that three in five drivers care more about their car's tailpipe emissions now, than they did five years ago, while Londoners were the most environmentally conscious with 72 per cent saying it was a key consideration for choosing their next car. 

In 2019 central London introduced the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), with the drivers of the most polluting cars being charged a daily fee to enter the city. From October 2021, the ULEZ will expand up to the boundary of the North and South Circular.

Half of the people in the East of England, however, felt less concerned about their car’s carbon footprint, with just 50 per cent saying they cared more now than five years ago.

Interestingly, when looking at the most important considerations when buying a new vehicle, emissions and environmental impact only ranked fifth. Running costs were cited as the top priority, followed by purchase price, fuel/energy consumption and driving experience.

Having the ability to charge at home was cited as the most important need by over half (53 per cent) of consumers when considering whether to purchase an electric vehicle.

Comments

Falkirk Bairn    on 15 November 2019

People over 55 might actually be able to count and therefore take the least expensive route rather than the trendy path.

oldroverboy.    on 15 November 2019

And save myself £15000 too,

Engineer Andy    on 16 November 2019

I had to smile at your comments - sage advice indeed. The virtues of not virtue-signalling!

hissingsid    on 16 November 2019

Range anxiety should concern us all, irrespective of age. Imagine a motorway journey in an electric car on a dark wet cold night. You have enough charge to get home, but there has been an accident and the motorway grinds to a halt. The Police have closed the motorway to investigate, possibly for hours, while your heater and lights gradually consume your remaining charge. You are then stuck with a dead car and unable to get home.

If I have learned one thing in over 50 years driving, it is never to be the first to embrace new technology. Wait until the teething troubles are overcome, then consider changing.

Edited by hissingsid on 16/11/2019 at 09:21

DeadBat    on 16 November 2019

Range anxiety should concern us all, irrespective of age. Imagine a motorway journey in an electric car on a dark wet cold night. You have enough charge to get home, but there has been an accident and the motorway grinds to a halt. The Police have closed the motorway to investigate, possibly for hours, while your heater and lights gradually consume your remaining charge. You are then stuck with a dead car and unable to get home.

If I have learned one thing in over 50 years driving, it is never to be the first to embrace new technology. Wait until the teething troubles are overcome, then consider changing.

I'm sorry, but I disagree. The same thing can happen with ICE car. If you do long journeys you should plan in advance, regardless if you drive petrol, diesel or electric car. If you have just enough fuel to get you home and count on luck (no road closures, works on motorway, etc.) then you may be in for a surprise.

For everyday commute and short journeys electric car that offers 150 mile range is perfectly fine in my opinion.

theukprof    on 16 November 2019

I was below 55 when I ordered my first electric car. Range anxiety is nonsense for anyone who lives in the UK and has a daily drive of less than 200 miles that owns a Tesla, Kia E Niro or Hyundai Kona 64. The Kia e-niro UK interest FB group as over 600 UK members and I don't recall seeing ant range issues.

Arminius JP    on 16 November 2019

Does the KPMG man not miss the point in saying “I don’t think there will be range anxiety in the future, especially given that 85 per cent of all journeys made in Britain are less than 15 miles"?

It is not the actual usage, but the possible usage that concerns people. I could need to drive c.300 miles at nearly no notice and having use of an ICE vehicle I face little restriction in so doing, unlikely though such a journey is but of great importance should it ever arise.

Marcus T.    on 19 November 2019

Agree. Obviously my family, myself and my neighbours and work colleagues are not in that 85%. Everyone I know commutes far further than 15 miles. EV's are fine for local journeys but no good for longer ones especially as you won't get the benefit of regenerative braking for those long motorway drives. With family far afield,,I need a vehicle that can travel 300 miles, carry kids and luggage and occasionally tow a trailer. EV's also need to cost a lot lot less as I would never spend that much on a vehicle. At least if I ever do go electric, I have a drive to park on. I have friends who can't even park near their house, let alone have a drive. Many new houses built on an estate near me, don't even have driveways. Ev's are a long way off for many.

hissingsid    on 16 November 2019

Today there was an accident on the M5 southbound less than ten miles from my home. The motorway was closed for nine hours. I rest my case.

DeadBat    on 18 November 2019

Today there was an accident on the M5 southbound less than ten miles from my home. The motorway was closed for nine hours. I rest my case.

Again, sorry to disappoint you, but your case is flawed.

Yes, accidents happen and motorway can be closed for 9 hours. That doesn't mean that people were stuck there for 9 hours. And it definitely doesn't mean that you would be better off in ICE car rather than 150 mile range EV.
If you're on your last drops of petrol/diesel you would sweat the same way as someone who's only got 15% charge in their EV.

Remember that most if not all (correct me if I'm wrong) new EV's have a range of at least 150 miles. That's more than we need to for our weekly commute and not just but in many cases 150 miles range could give you more than two weeks of driving on average.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/657839/commuting-in-england-1988-2015.pdf

SCSmith    on 18 November 2019

But that's just it, whilst an EV may have a range of 150 miles, an ICE is likely 400-600, so what if you've used say 75% (~110-115 miles) of your battery and are stuck? The ICE still has 285-485 miles of fuel remaining..

DeadBat    on 18 November 2019

But my point is that on average for everyday use, EV that offers 150 miles real life range will be more than enough (quite a few "cheaper" EV's have range over 200 miles).

Obviously this won't work for everyone, but will for most. It won't work for me as currently I do about 18k miles a year, but my partners work commute is about 60 miles a week. Add another 10-15 miles of local trips (shopping, nursery, etc.) and you get two weeks on one charge.

Marcus T.    on 19 November 2019

straw poll of seven people in my office. All have daily commutes totalling over 50 miles.

Trevor Heley    on 18 November 2019

Over 55 and 2 electric cars. No issue with range and if you do need to do a long trip you just plan. As to motorway problems how many ICE cars run out of petrol on a cold rainy day stuck on a Motorway. Quite a few I expect,

My questions is who commissioned KPMG for this flawed study...maybe oil and automotive industry !

Peter Covey    on 18 November 2019

If the carbon footprint of the production of electric etc cars is much greater than that of petrol/diesel cars over their lifetime the whole question of applying moral pressure to get motorists to change vehicles is fatally flawed at the moment. Their high financial costs and rapidly changing technology mean the benefits are limited to certain types of users....

DeadBat    on 18 November 2019

If the carbon footprint of the production of electric etc cars is much greater than that of petrol/diesel cars over their lifetime the whole question of applying moral pressure to get motorists to change vehicles is fatally flawed at the moment. Their high financial costs and rapidly changing technology mean the benefits are limited to certain types of users....

If the car is 2-5 year old and in good condition then the most eco friendly option is to keep it for as long as possible. Swapping fairly new ICE car to EV does not make any sense.

Ian Basford    on 18 November 2019

Attitude has nothing to do with it. Dont forget many over 55s are retired and no longer commute - I use the car once a week, but once a month i do a 60 or a 600 mile journey (600 miles takes 6 to 8 hours each way). How long would this take if i had to stop to recharge!). Also what happens if caught in a traffic jam - at least 4 times on a 600 mile journey). This very website makes the point that like MPG, ranges on electric cars are exaggerated and the average is much much lower. I would love an electric car, but it would add hours to my already long journeys. Short distances - shopping - I walk or cycle. The car is for long distances or inclement weather. What is the average journey for non-commuters?

DeadBat    on 18 November 2019

Attitude has nothing to do with it. Dont forget many over 55s are retired and no longer commute - I use the car once a week, but once a month i do a 60 or a 600 mile journey (600 miles takes 6 to 8 hours each way). How long would this take if i had to stop to recharge!). Also what happens if caught in a traffic jam - at least 4 times on a 600 mile journey). This very website makes the point that like MPG, ranges on electric cars are exaggerated and the average is much much lower. I would love an electric car, but it would add hours to my already long journeys. Short distances - shopping - I walk or cycle. The car is for long distances or inclement weather. What is the average journey for non-commuters?

The bottom line is to choose what works for you. If currently EV is not an option for you, use your current car.
Charging times will drop, but the main issue in my opinion is the charging infrastructure - more charging points are needed.

bruxxie    on 18 November 2019

As a 74 year old I don't see the advantage in switching from a vehicle that I can now drive 400 miles on a tank of fuel and fill it up within a couple of miles of wherever I happen to be getting low on fuel, to a vehicle where I have to carefully plan my journey, monitor the charging, usage of power and location of charging points before I get in. If that's progress then I must have missed something somewhere. I have also yet to be convinced about the long term sustainability of the batteries and the recycle mountain that they will soon represent.

   on 18 November 2019

Electric cars are far more efficient in slow moving traffic than ICE cars. When stopped and electric car will use very little energy (it will depend on what accessories are on in particular heating or air conditioning) a petrol car idles. So being low on petrol and then getting stuck in traffic is more of an issue than being low on battery, generally with and electric car when you go slower you use less power per mile, with an ICE car you use more fuel per mile.

How much range you need depends on the use of the car. If you have two cars and one is only used for commuting and local journals a range of 100 miles is likely to be more than adequate. There are many electric cars available with a range of over 200 miles some over 300 miles. I wouldn't expect to drive more than 200 miles without stopping and newer electric cars can charge to 80% in 40 mins.

I am over 55 and drive a Vauxhall Ampera which is a range extended electric vehicle. At the time I bought it a Tesla model S was the only car you could get with a range of over 200 miles, nice but very expensive, but there is now a much wider choice with many more coming on the market next year.

bruxxie    on 18 November 2019

As a 74 year old I don't see the advantage in switching from a vehicle that I can now drive 400 miles on a tank of fuel and fill it up within a couple of miles of wherever I happen to be getting low on fuel, to a vehicle where I have to carefully plan my journey, monitor the charging, usage of power and location of charging points before I get in. If that's progress then I must have missed something somewhere. I have also yet to be convinced about the long term sustainability of the batteries and the recycle mountain that they will soon represent.

DeadBat    on 18 November 2019

As a 74 year old I don't see the advantage in switching from a vehicle that I can now drive 400 miles on a tank of fuel and fill it up within a couple of miles of wherever I happen to be getting low on fuel, to a vehicle where I have to carefully plan my journey, monitor the charging, usage of power and location of charging points before I get in. If that's progress then I must have missed something somewhere. I have also yet to be convinced about the long term sustainability of the batteries and the recycle mountain that they will soon represent.

And how often you do that 400 miles? It's like driving from London to Edinburgh, so for sure you would have to stop halfway through to refuel, get a tea/coffee or just to stretch your legs. That would give you some time to recharge batteries on your EV.

Agree with you on batteries, at the moment this is unchartered territory and I hope that car companies find a way to recycle and reuse old batteries.

Edited by DeadBat on 18/11/2019 at 15:41

Michael Read    on 18 November 2019

I drive to Germany two or three times a year. My diesel Mazda has a range of 500 miles and a 20min comfort break allows me to refill the tank for another 500 miles, visit the loo and get a coffee.
The range of an electric car is not as important as the charge time. ie if I stop for 20 mins and plug it in, how much range am I going to add?

DeadBat    on 18 November 2019

For you EV is not an option and so you're better off with your diesel Mazda. I'm sure that within 5-10 years charging times will drop significantly and batteries will get more efficient giving much better real world range.

hissingsid    on 18 November 2019

I drive to Germany two or three times a year. My diesel Mazda has a range of 500 miles and a 20min comfort break allows me to refill the tank for another 500 miles, visit the loo and get a coffee. The range of an electric car is not as important as the charge time. ie if I stop for 20 mins and plug it in, how much range am I going to add?

20 minutes is the best case scenario and assumes that you can go straight to the charging point and plug in, but if there are one or two cars waiting in front of you, how long then?

As others have pointed out, the ranges claimed for EV's are also best case scenario with brand new batteries, avoiding dark wet conditions with the lights, wipers and heater/demister on all the time. I would like to run an EV, but until the problems of overstated range and insufficient charging points are overcome I will continue with my 2 to 5 year old ICE.

aethelwulf    on 18 November 2019

I am 72. I have two gasoline powered cars. No way would I buy an electric car at the ridiculous cost asked. There is no guarantee how long the batteries will last and how much they would cost to replace. I know how long my engines will last and therefore how long to keep my cars. I think buyers of electric cars are either brave or simpleton Liberal types. The are not accountants , as I am. the planet will out last us all on this website but life will end one day with the sun becoming a red giant. How will government manage to con people to avoid that by paying through their noses? It will be interesting, but not to me.
Do you sums and look after you own interests as no one else will , I can assure you.

Martd    on 18 November 2019

Expect to see more cars stopped at the side of the road in the next few years, mainly electric. Hope they don't break down on a smart motorway. The thoughtful driver should avoid both. Hydrogen is the future; electric is the next diesel.

c Reed    on 19 November 2019

In Rio de Janeiro all of the taxis run on GNV compressed natural gas.
MY Toyota has GNV and gasoline too.
A great reducer of car emmissions in city's
The low energy density of town gas makes the car a but slow on the mountains when the car only has three gears.
Takes much longer to fill a 700 litre gas tank, but beats electrical charging by a mile.
Brazil also has alcool in the gasoline, a big help too.

Ian Basford    on 19 November 2019

Was the buy 2 cars a serious suggestion or a joke? A 100% increase in car ownership - never mind the environmental cost of disposing of the cars

MoDo613    on 19 November 2019

Many people myself included have been using plug-in hybrid and electric cars for a number of years now. Having previously owned an F11 535d and a Lexus 450h amongst other lesser cars I would never consider going back to fossil fuel. I get the argument they don't work for long journeys, but this is only true of some EV's and does not apply to any PHEV.
There is simply no comparison to the way an EV drives - plus from an engineering perspective electric drive makes so much more sense. Of course with development of batteries deliberately stunted by big-oil etc for decades the battery tech has to catch up. We've already witnessed more than doubling of power density in 5 years so this is improving rapidly. But more importantly EV's can and do work for so many people TODAY.

Finally the environmental concerns are totally misplaced, all the 'concerns' about battery recycling, mining/raw materials etc are based on assumptions not an examination of the countless detailed studies into this - the overwhelming majority of which conclude EV's are ESSENTIAL to solving pollution and simialrly for reducing climate change.

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