One in four consumers plan to buy an electric car in next five years according to Ofgem research

Publication date
21st May 2021
Information type
Policy area

Ahead of Ofgem’s launch of its COP26 ‘green, fair future’ campaign, new research has found that almost one in four (24%) consumers plan to buy an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid in the next five years.

The Climate Change Committee anticipates around 18 million battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will be on the road by the ban on the sale of new internal combustion vehicles being introduced in 2030.

Ofgem’s research showed that:

  • Those who own electric vehicles are more open to embracing changes in how they use their energy.
  • Electric vehicle owners are three times more likely to say they are on a time of use tariff than non-owners.
  • Over half (60%) would consider smart charging of their vehicle to avoid times when electricity is most expensive.

Although many consumers intend on changing their car to an electric one, over a third (38%) said they were unlikely to get an electric vehicle in the next five years. This is due to perceived barriers like the price being too high (59%), a short battery life and/or short range (38%) and worries about having nowhere to charge their electric vehicle close to home (36%).

Three in four (74%) consumers identified electricity generation and transport, such as fossil fuel power stations and exhaust emissions, as activities that play a big part in contributing to climate change. But the research shows that fewer consumers (60%) identified domestic heating, like gas boilers, as playing a big part in contributing to climate change, although one in seven (14%) intend to install low carbon heating such as heat pumps. 

This research outlines some of the challenges that will be covered at Ofgem’s conference on Monday 24 May marking the start of its ‘green, fair future’ campaign, which seeks to work with international regulators to share and develop best practice to bring forward decarbonised energy systems in the run up to November’s COP26 climate change talks in Glasgow.

The virtual event will hear from representatives from global energy regulators about the common issues faced in enabling energy-related decarbonisation, including supporting the move to the electrification of transport. 

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s chief executive, said:

“As more consumers make the switch to electric vehicles in the next five years, Ofgem will be announcing millions of pounds of investment to create a more flexible energy system to support the electrification of vehicles, renewable generation and low carbon forms of heat.

“Securing the investment is only half of the answer. Climate change can only be tackled if consumers are engaged in the process. For this to happen the transition to a low carbon economy needs to be fair, inclusive and affordable.

“Energy regulators have a key role to play in delivering this transition and we will be seeking to work with regulators across the world in the run up to the COP26 climate change talks to develop proposals that benefit consumers and the planet.”

Notes to editors

  • Registration is open for Ofgem’s ‘Regulating for a green, fair future’ event on Monday 24 May 2021.
  • Ofgem will be making a major investment announcement on Monday 24 May. This announcement is price sensitive and will be released at 7am.
  • Ipsos MORI carried out the research on behalf of Ofgem interviewing 4,608 respondents between June and September 2020. Interviews were carried out with consumers across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • The Climate Change Committee estimates that there will be 17.8 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, of which 14.5 million will be battery electric vehicles. 
  • A time-of-use tariff charges consumers a lower rate when demand is low, encouraging them to use energy at off-peak times.

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Ofgem is Britain’s independent energy regulator. Our role is to protect consumers now and in the future by working to deliver a greener, fairer energy system. We do this by: 

  • Working with Government, industry and consumer groups to deliver a net zero economy at the lowest cost to consumers.
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