Drivers aged 55 and over are the most reluctant age group to want to make the change to electric vehicles (EVs), according to research published by online car marketplace carwow.

This age group presents a significant challenge for UK motor retailers, as this is also the group carwow believes is best able to make the shift to electrified mobility.

Over two-thirds (67%) of drivers polled aged 55+ say concern about price is currently putting them off acquiring an EV. This group is also more likely to cite the lack of charging infrastructure to support EVs as a reason why they would not give up their petrol or diesel car, with 43% saying it is a barrier, compared to just 23% of drivers aged under 44. A greater number of those aged 55 and over say they are unconvinced by the technology of EVs – a third (34%) of those surveyed said this would put them off making the switch, compared to just 20% of drivers under 44.

However, there are 17.4 million drivers with a full licence aged 55 and over, equivalent to 42% of the total UK driving population. This is typically the age group most likely to buy a new car, thanks to greater buying and borrowing power, and people in this age bracket are more likely to live in larger homes with off-street parking for easy at-home charging. 

Hugo Griffiths, consumer editor at carwow, said: “Drivers in their mid-50s and above are, in many ways, ideal EV buyers. This demographic is more likely to have the off-street space for a home chargepoint, while disposable incomes also tend to be higher with the over 55s.

“If you regularly drive long distances then maybe an EV isn’t for you, but if, like most of us, your regular journeys are under 200 miles, then an EV should fit the bill perfectly.

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“There is a real opportunity for more mature drivers to lead the way when it comes to EVs. We see a huge opportunity for the car industry to help educate this age group on the pros of EV ownership and address some of the misgivings around EVs mature drivers seem to have; if this is done, a precedent will be set for others to follow.” 

Close to a quarter of EV drivers are 55 or older, making it the largest age group for EV drivers in the UK and suggesting that once these concerns are overcome, they’re the age group most likely to take up an electric car. 

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that in April battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales reached 20,522 – up by 59.1%, year-on-year – while petrol-powered vehicles remained the most popular fuel type, comprising 42.8% of all sales in the month.