Cost drives electric vehicle concerns

  • 11.1 million motorists are put off by perceived high upfront costs
  • But Direct Line analysis shows the lifetime cost of owning an electric vehicle is around £107 a year less than a petrol vehicle
  • Nearly a third of motorists would already be happy to have a public charging point outside their home
  • Analysis shows Glasgow Central and Leeds Central are the best constituencies for charger availability

The biggest driver putting motorists off electric cars is the upfront cost, reveals new research from Direct Line Motor Insurance1. Over 11 million motorists who don’t currently own an electric vehicle (32 per cent) say the upfront cost is their biggest concern, with 11.5 million motorists (32 per cent) believing they are more expensive to run than petrol cars.

But Direct Line analysis2 found electric vehicles actually cost £107 a year less than a petrol vehicle over a car’s lifetime and costs are predicted to continue decreasing. On average an electric vehicle would cost £3,752 a year over the course of its life, compared to £3,858 for a petrol car with the higher purchase cost for electric vehicles offset by lower running costs, as well as tax and maintenance being cheaper.

Other than cost, the biggest concerns about electric vehicles are lack of access to charging points away from home (20 per cent) and access to charging points at home (16 per cent). Yet, drivers admit they have concerns about charging points. However, nearly a third of motorists (31 per cent) would be happy for an electric vehicle public charging point to be installed outside their home.

Attitudes to the positioning of electric chargers may have to change in many parts of the country, reveals analysis of the provision of electric vehicle chargers by parliamentary constituencies by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS)3, utilising data provided by

The constituencies across the country with the fewest public charging facilities are Birmingham Perry Barr and the Rhondda, which both have none at all. At the other end of the scale, Glasgow Central and Leeds Central have the greatest proportion of public charging points per 100 electric vehicles, boasting 139 and 127 respectively, more than the number of electric cars on the roads. Liverpool Riverside and Coventry North East also have more chargers than vehicles.

Table one: The best and worst constituencies for electric charging facilities per 100 electric vehicles

The constituencies where you’ll find the most chargers per 100 electric cars

Number of chargers per 100 electric cars

The constituencies where you’ll find the least chargers per electric car

Number of chargers per 100 electric cars

Glasgow Central


Birmingham Perry Barr


Leeds Central




Liverpool Riverside


Harrow East


Coventry North East










Brentwood and Ongar


Manchester Central




Birmingham Ladywood


Altrincham and Sale West






Westminster Central


Ruislip, Northwood, and Pinner


Source: PACTS data analysed by Direct Line Motor Insurance, 2021

In good news for electric vehicles, around half (49 per cent) of all motorists – the equivalent of 18 million people – would be happy to own an electric vehicle now or in the future, despite concerns over cost and infrastructure. For the under-35s the number who are keen to go electric now or in the future rises to 64 per cent with 28 per cent – or 2.71 million – happy to own one now.

Ian Exworth at Direct Line, commented: “Electric cars are rapidly becoming an accepted part of the driving landscape as demonstrated by the number of electric vehicles we now see on the roads. Millions are open to owning an electric vehicle, which is brilliant, but many are still understandably concerned about factors such as cost and infrastructure availability.  

“It is fascinating however, that it is the younger drivers who are leading the way with nearly two out of three of them keen to own electric cars. Nearly half of all those who say they want to own an electric car now are under-35 which is a real insight into how the roads of the not too distant future will look.”

David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said, “Electric vehicles are not only cleaner but are also safer vehicles as they come with all the latest safety features. They will help to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and cut casualties.

“PACTS is pleased to help provide this information in a format that will help MPs and the public.”

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

1        Research commissioned with Opinium between 14th and 17th May 2021 among 2,000 UK adults

2          DLG analysis of five comparable 2020 models of electric and petrol vehicles conducted in May 2020. Average annual costs were calculated by comparing the purchase cost, refuelling cost per relative miles per fuel unit based on an average annual mileage of 7,900 miles, road tax, MOTs and servicing and insurance costs based on internal DLG policy estimates

3        Analysis of numbers of electric vehicles carried out by Agilysis using data supplied by the Department for Transport

4        Data regarding electric charge points has been supplied by Zap-Map, the UK's leading EV mapping service

For further information please contact:

Simon Henrick 
Direct Line Group

Tel: 01651 831 668
Email: [email protected]

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