Your Car: Time To Switch? | ITV Tonight

By 2030 all new cars being sold in this country will be electric rather than petrol or diesel. So with this deadline fast approaching- and the current hikes in energy prices- how attractive are electric vehicles to consumers? Are motorists ready to switch…and can they afford to?

Motoring journalist Ginny Buckley investigates.Demand for new and used cars in 2022 was high due to weaker supply levels, largely thanks to the global shortage of microchips - which help run everything from digital displays to safety features.

In our programme, we hear from customers at a used car garage who discuss their experiences of longer wait times and thoughts about electric, hybrid and petrol vehicles.

"2022 really was an exceptional year for the used car industry. We saw consumers, car buyers caring more than ever about owning a car at the start of the year. That was because of worries over COVID. Towards the end of the year, more worries about reliability of public transport and availability. So for all those essential journeys, consumers really needed their cars. So demand's been strong." - Catherine Faiers: Chief Operating Officer, Auto Trader

In 2022, the government ended the plug-in grant, which allowed electric car buyers to claim up to £1,500 off the price of a new car costing no more than £32,000. They said it was because the scheme to kickstart the electric revolution had been successful and they were switching their focus to other electric vehicles and the public charging network.

Those that regularly use the public network for rapid, or ultra rapid, charging do so at a premium. Finding a suitable place to charge on longer journeys is a problem Ginny faces regularly, she takes her concerns about charging to Gridserve - the company took over managing the bulk of the motorway network infrastructure 18 months ago and now have chargers located across 85% of motorway service areas around the UK.

"It's absolutely clear we need huge numbers and more chargers than we have at the moment… It's going to be massively different within 12 months from now." - Toddington Harper: CEO, Gridserve

Ginny visits Electrogenic - a company which converts existing cars, particularly classic models, to electric. The cars are able to keep the same interior and exterior aesthetic but operate in a modern way. They have also developed a kit to convert agricultural Land Rovers, mainly being used by farmers, to electric. These kits are affordable for commercial use and the company is currently developing a full production line to make their technology more affordable on a wider scale to specialist garages.

Research shows that the cheapest versions of some electric cars have increased in price by as much as 50% in the past year - so there are now currently only 3 new electric cars on the market for under £30,000. However, there are around 100 different choices at that price range for their petrol or diesel counterparts.

For many, it does seem like now is not the right time and it's part of the problem the government faces. Until charging infrastructure is improved and new and used electric car prices become more affordable - many consumers will feel that a switch is just too risky. With just 7 years to go until 2030, time is ticking for those of us who still might need some convincing…

The Department for Transport told Tonight:

"We’ve invested more than £2bn to help people switch, and more than 600 public charge points are being added every month to what is already one of the largest networks in Europe."

Useful Links: 

To find out more about making the switch, visit Energy Saving Trust.