Battery health concerns the biggest barrier to EV adoption, report finds

A new industry report has suggested that addressing barriers to the second-hand EV market could encourage drivers to make the switch to electric.

The report from the Green Finance Institute (GFI) highlights the opportunity for the used EV market to play a major role in the net zero transition by boosting EV uptake in the UK by as much as 17 million but warns that key barriers impacting consumer confidence must first be addressed, with battery health concerns ranking number one amongst UK drivers alongside affordability and concerns around charging infrastructure.

The Green Finance Institute’s report Used EV Market: The Key to Unlocking Net Zero – which surveyed over 2,000 UK drivers and drew on contributions from 35 leading car dealerships, motor finance lenders, and lease companies including Black Horse, Octopus EV, Vertu, EVA England, and Evolution Funding – concluded that, despite over 61% of drivers indicating they would purchase an EV, over a quarter of them would not buy a used EV unless concerns around batteries, cost, and charging infrastructure were addressed. Assurances on the health of second-hand EV batteries – the number one barrier to purchasing a used EV – were identified as the single most effective solution to encourage drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles, significantly accelerating the transition to net zero in road transport.

Lauren Pamma, Programme Director at the Green Finance Institute, said: “Without the used market, the EV transition is destined to stall. 82% of car sales in 2021 were second-hand in the UK. So, if we’re serious about driving EV adoption en masse, we need to channel this appetite for second-hand cars towards EVs. Our research makes clear that the demand for EVs is already there, but to unlock the used market, we need to boost consumer confidence on battery health, charging infrastructure, and affordability. In collaboration with the public and private sectors, the Green Finance Institute is already working to implement solutions that tackle these barriers.”

Of drivers who said they wouldn’t buy a used EV, 62% cited concerns around battery lifespan – making the fear of poor battery health the single largest barrier preventing the second-hand market from taking off, a concern echoed by industry experts. Nearly three-quarters of the 21 dealerships involved in the report recognised battery lifespan as one of the top consumer concerns in the context of used EVs.

The research also identified a clear disconnect between drivers’ perceptions of EV running costs and the reality. Of those who currently wouldn’t buy a used EV, 27% cited cost and the cost of maintenance as a major factor. However, research has shown that the overall running costs of an EV over its lifetime of ownership are typically less than that of ICE counterparts.

Despite the growing number of public charge points – which have increased by 523% in the last six years alone – drivers surveyed also said a better understanding of the cost and locations of public charging would encourage them to make the switch to an EV.

Want the latest Electric vehicle news in your inbox? Sign up to the free EV Powered email newsletter...