Ford representative at its UK roadshow

Ford attempts to ease EV confusion for consumers

New research commissioned by Ford has found that the majority of UK consumers are confused by electric vehicle technology and, as a result, many potential customers are not seriously considering an electrified vehicle for a future purchase.

Electric vehicles currently account for around just five per cent of UK new car sales, with Ford’s survey highlighting the barriers that deter further mainstream adoption.

An apparent lack of appeal to consumers is certainly a significant factor: 46 per cent of respondents said they don’t intend to buy an electric vehicle in the future, while 21 per cent say they are unlikely to consider an electric vehicle for the next five years. Another 20 per cent said they won’t probably take the plunge for another 3-5 years. 

Reasons for this consumer reluctance are mixed, with range anxiety (37 per cent), apparent lack of affordability (53 per cent) and worries about where to charge (51 per cent) being cited as critical concerns.

It is telling, however, that these responses are underpinned by widespread confusion that still exists around the technology. For example, only two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents correctly identified that an electric car is a vehicle that has one or more electric motors. In addition, three-quarters of those questioned said they are not confident in understanding the difference between hybrid and battery electric cars, while 43 per cent said they don’t feel that they know enough about the technology to consider purchasing an electric or electrified vehicle.

Beyond this, a range of stakeholders – including national and local government, energy providers and vehicle manufacturers – need to come together with a unified goal if we are to meet the electrification challenge. Given the size and scale of what we want to achieve in the UK, we need to kick-start this process.

– Andy Barrattt, managing director Ford UK

Ford is attempting to counter this lack of information with a new UK-wide consumer education roadshow, called Go Electric. Offering an interactive experience, the roadshow is designed to teach consumers more about CO2 emissions, the future of local Clean Air Zones, vehicle charging methods and finding the right vehicle for their lifestyle.

Ford has employed technology presenter Georgie Barrat to film a review of her experience, in which she breaks down some of the most misunderstood phrases and answers some of the biggest questions on electric vehicles.

Barrt said: “Technology has always been something that excites me, but I totally understand that not everyone is at the same stage on their journey. For me, it’s all about making things easy for anyone to understand. There is no need for fancy language when something instead can be made simple to grasp. That’s why I was so excited to work with Ford on the Go Electric campaign and help make electrification accessible to everyone!”

Andy Barratt, managing director for Ford of Britain, added: “While the move to electrification is gathering pace, there’s no mistaking that this is a huge task ahead of us that will require fundamental efforts to ensure consumers are taken on the journey, and the first step is understanding what their options are. Our roadshow will help demystify electrified vehicle options for all of our customers and give them all they need to make the right choice to fit their lives.

“Beyond this, a range of stakeholders – including national and local government, energy providers and vehicle manufacturers – need to come together with a unified goal if we are to meet the electrification challenge. Given the size and scale of what we want to achieve in the UK, we need to kick-start this process. A fast start could include the creation of a specific senior role in government to help coordinate a comprehensive electrification strategy for the UK – a ‘Minister for Electrification’ who can work cross-functionally across government and with the various stakeholders. Ford has always sought to democratise vehicles and technologies and now we intend to do the same for electrification.”

More information on Ford’s Go Electric roadshow can be found on the company’s website here.

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