There is currently a major gender imbalance with electric car ownership, according to a new study.
A poll of more than 2,000 electric vehicle (EV) drivers revealed that only one in ten (11 per cent) are women.
The survey, conducted by independent EV charging app Bonnet, also found that households with higher incomes are much more likely to own an EV – with nearly a third (30.5 per cent) of drivers saying they bring home in excess of £81,000 a year.
Britain’s EV ownership gender imbalance: A poll of more than 2,000 electric car drivers revealed that only one in ten women are driving battery-powered vehicles
The poll of 2,065 EV owners in Britain and Europe in June found that just 11 per cent were female.
That said, 6.3 per cent of the panel did not disclose their gender while 0.3 per cent selected ‘other’.
But the research does show the significant swing in balance towards males when it comes to driving EVs, with 82.4 per cent of the motorists quizzed being men.
Patrick Reich, chief executive of Bonnet, said: ‘These new findings suggest that EV owners are currently mostly male and from high-income households – with only one in ten drivers surveyed identifying as women.
‘This is a gap that we need to bridge as EV ownership needs to work for everyone.’
Ginny Buckley, the founder of EV-dedicated website Electrifying.com, said one of the potential reasons behind the gender gap could be that women feel less safe when using public chargers.
‘We know that women directly influence 85 per cent of all car buying decisions and 46 per cent of driving licence holders in the UK identify as female, so the clear gender imbalance in electric car ownership is something that both industry and legislators need to take seriously,’ Buckley explained.
‘Everyone – regardless of their gender – should feel comfortable making the switch to electric and this can’t be done without addressing drivers’ concerns.
‘For example, our own data tells us that nearly 25 per cent of people have felt unsafe when charging in public.
‘This is clearly a huge issue, particularly for women, as plugging in an electric car should be as safe, easy and reliable as refilling it with fuel.’
Ginny Buckley from Electrifying.com (pictured) said her website has found that a quarter of people feel unsafe when charging in public – and this could be a reason for why female EV ownership is so low
Among the headline findings from the poll is that electric cars continue to be owned primarily by higher earners.
While the median average salary in the UK is £33,000, half of all EV drivers surveyed across Britain and Europe have an annual household income of almost double that.
Some 50 per cent of the panel said their household brings in over £60,000 per annum – and almost one in six (16.8 per cent) of those surveyed have an annual income of more than £100,000.
Less than a quarter (24.4 per cent) of the EV drivers polled said their household brings home less than £40,000 a year, while just 5.3 per cent are earning £20,000 or less.
The study also revealed that EV owners tend to be married (57 per cent), while only 12 per cent of EV drivers said they were single.
The promise of cheaper motoring costs was the main reason people told Bonnet they had chosen an EV, with half of those quizzed saying this was the biggest appeal.
In contrast, just a third said they had bought an electric car with helping the environment in mind.
And despite home charging being far cheaper – aided by lower five per cent taxation on electricity (compared to 20 per cent when using energy from the public network), two in five claimed to be public charging their car each week – with 57 per cent picking devices based on price.
Only three per cent said the brand name or reputation of a charging network affected their decision on where to charge up – and only 15 per cent choose locations based on reliability.
Ministers have announced new legislation to help improve the public charging infrastructure, including a 99% reliability requirement for rapid devices and all operators to accept contactless payments
Tough new rules for public chargers?
The findings of the poll have been published in the wake of new legislation laid in Parliament that will require all public charging devices to be accessible via one app and allow for contactless payment.
As highlighted in a recent Daily Mail report, motorists are currently forced to use multiple smartphone apps or membership cards to access different charging networks.
Mandating so-called payment roaming is among new Department for Transport (DfT) regulations aimed at encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles by making it easier, cheaper and more convenient to charge them across the UK.
Operators will be required to accept contactless payments at newly installed chargepoints at eight kilowatts and above, and at existing rapid chargepoints.
A standardised pence per kilowatt hour price will be mandated to enable drivers to compare the cost of using different networks.
Rapid chargepoint networks will be required to function for 99 per cent of the time during a calendar year, and a new helpline will be launched to support motorists when something goes wrong with electric vehicle charging.
Chargepoint data will also be opened up to make it easier for drivers to check their availability.
Transport minister Jesse Norman said: ‘As demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, the Government wants to make sure that drivers continue to have confidence in the UK’s charging network.
‘The regulations that the Government has put forward today will improve the EV charging experience for millions, helping drivers find the right chargepoints for their needs, providing price transparency so that they can compare the cost of charging at different points, and updating payment methods so all new chargepoints have a contactless option.
‘This will make the switch to electric easier than ever for motorists, help to grow the UK’s economy and drive net zero.’
A standardised pence per kilowatt hour price will be mandated for public electric vehicle charging, the Department for Transport has announced this week
AA president Edmund King said: ‘This is a welcome step and we are pleased that the Government has listened to our requests to create more confidence when charging away from home.
‘A 99 per cent reliability requirement and live chargepoint information will help show drivers in real-time the benefits of driving electric.’
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: ‘The focus on improving reliability, interoperability and pricing transparency is good news as they reflect the main issues people have when recharging.
‘The next step should be enabling contactless credit or debit card payments at public chargers below 8kW, which would benefit drivers who rely on on-street and destination chargers.’
Many automotive experts believe the UK’s public charging network must be significantly improved before the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Whatever the downsides of petrol and diesel cars, the relative ease of refuelling is something that EVs have to match.
‘A single app will help greatly. But this will still be dependent on drivers getting a signal on their mobile whenever and wherever they decide to ‘fill up’.
‘Our research shows there are still big holes in the mobile phone network.
‘It’s not just drivers who need access to the phone network. To work properly, chargers too need to be able to connect.
‘Technology might offer a solution to a lot of problems but only when it is 100 per cent available.’
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