For dozens of countries across the world, electric vehicles represent a chance to fight climate change by curbing soaring carbon emissions. Since EVs run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, they produce zero emissions at the tailpipe. Experts have found that they produce significantly fewer emissions compared to traditional cars even if the electricity they use isn’t “clean,” making them suitable for economies looking to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
However, most consumers have had one main complaint for the past decade or so: EVs are just too expensive. Even with subsidies meant to make EVs less costly, most drivers simply can’t afford the cost of going electric. A recent survey of more than 12,000 drivers in the United Kingdom revealed that soaring energy costs are making electric vehicles more unaffordable than they already are.
Around 63% of the surveyed drivers said that increasing energy costs are now acting as a barrier to buying or owning an EV. The AA survey revealed that spiraling energy costs were the only thing preventing them from purchasing electric cars. It is the latest in a host of polls looking into the wide-ranging effects of the current energy crisis.
The energy crunch can mostly be attributed to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the impact it has had on the regional and global economy. Soon after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, several Western countries rebuked the country and instituted a host of sanctions to harm its war effort.
In retaliation, Russia cut gas flows to the rest of Europe and plunged the region into a crisis that saw energy prices grow to 10 times their five-year average. The energy crisis has hit European countries such as the UK and Germany particularly hard. A Riverdale Leasing survey found that 43% of motorists believed the UK would never be completely ready for a mass transition to electric cars.
In addition, 21% blamed rising energy costs coupled with a higher chance for increased home energy costs as the primary reason. EV charging company Osprey recently announced a major price hike that made its charging network the most expensive in the UK, something that will undoubtedly prevent many drivers from making the switch to electric cars. According to Osprey, it was forced to raise its charging prices due to increased energy costs and the lack of an energy price cap for businesses.
However, one expert says that despite rising energy costs, electric cars are still “considerably cheaper” to run compared to traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. However, given the surge in energy prices, he says, drivers can be forgiven for thinking that running an electric car would be costly.
It now remains up to electric vehicle startups such as Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) to educate motorists and show them that despite the current high cost of energy, it is still more affordable in the long term to own an EV in lieu of a conventional gas-powered car.
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