Brits believe in EVs but only 1 in 4 optimistic about UK Net Zero strategy

A new survey has found that most Brits believe EVs are the way forward despite being unconvinced by the governments net zero initiatives.

Research from Volkswagen Financial Services UK (VWFS) reveals that a significant 41% of the population believe greater accessibility to EVs is the best way to make transport greener in this country.

The study found that having access to an electric car is seen as more preferable than incentivising walking or cycling (37%), incentivising use of shared vehicles (17%) or accessibility to e-scooters and shared bikes (13%).

And almost half of Brits (49%) are open to the idea of buying a used EV – even though this sector of the market is still in its infancy – which reinforces the idea that electromobility is seen as the answer to more environmentally friendly travel.

Whilst the popularity of electric cars is set against a backdrop of just 26% feeling optimistic about the UK cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, there is a generational disparity in attitudes towards this issue.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK’s data insights team found that despite just 14% of people aged 65 to 74 feeling optimistic about green transport schemes, the reverse is true with younger age groups.

A considerable 38% of Gen Z and Millennial respondents, people typically most aligned with sustainable initiatives, feel optimistic that the government’s plans for cleaner transport will improve air quality for future generations and positively impact climate change.

This comes as the Department for Transport recently announced a planned £1.6 billion investment to improve the public charging network, with its EV Infrastructure Strategy outlining plans to support the UK reach 300,000 public EV charging points by 2030.

Sticking with the generational theme, the leading car finance provider’s research also found that 59% of Gen Z and Millennials found the concept of ordering a new car from their smartphone to their front door appealing.

The appeal of this also increases with distance in miles travelled per year. Three in five of those who drive over 20,000 miles find this concept very or fairly appealing. People driving longer distances also tend to be younger.

And as the automotive sector evolves into a greener, more digital age, innovative approaches to sustainable transport are gaining traction.

For example, the research also showed that more than a third of people (37%) are in favour of shared mobility, which is the shared use of a vehicle on an as-needed basis.

Interestingly, favourability for shared mobility decreases with age, with people aged 18 to 34 significantly more in favour of this model than any other age group.

Becky Whitmore, Senior EV Product Owner at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: “The transition to electric is already at full throttle and I believe the government’s recent proposals for more than half of all new cars sold in the UK to be fully electric by 2028 is a really positive step. The conversation around green travel really has the nation talking, but it’s also sparked a gearshift in people’s lifestyle choices. What’s pleasing for me is that so many young people are on board with sustainable initiatives, as these are the consumers who will be helping to create a greener planet for generations to come. I think it’s great that Gen Z and Millennial drivers are so open to new models of mobility and long may their receptiveness to innovation continue.”