Middle classes cannot afford electric cars, warns Vauxhall owner

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By Paul Homewood


Demand for electric cars slumps as energy crisis makes them more expensive to run

Motorists are rapidly losing interest in electric cars as the 
cost of power surges and petrol and diesel prices continue to fall, the AA has suggested.

The proportion of car buyers considering purchasing an electric model this year has slumped to less than a fifth compared with one in four a year ago, its research found.

It came as the boss of Stellantis, which owns Vauxhall, warned that the middle classes cannot afford the cost of electric cars without the support of state subsidies.

Carlos Tavares, chief executive of Stellantis, said: “The most significant problem of electrification is the affordability for the middle classes.

“That’s what we are now fighting against – how fast can we reduce the costs to bring the EV [electric vehicle] to the level of affordability that people can pay for without subsidies.”

The up-front cost of plug-in vehicles has become unaffordable for many 
as rampant inflation makes models even more expensive.

For example, a Volkswagen Golf costs from around £25,000, while a similarly-sized all-electric VW ID.3 starts at about £36,400. Prices for Nissan’s battery-powered Leaf start at £29,000, while its combustion engine model Juke starts at £20,700.

At the same time, falling prices at the pump means many drivers are holding onto petrol and diesel cars for longer. 

After rocketing following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, petrol prices have declined from highs of more than 191 pence per litre in the summer to an average of 148.4 pence per litre. Meanwhile, diesel prices have fallen to the lowest level since just after the start of the Ukraine war.

Higher wholesale gas prices have also driven up electricity prices, making it most expensive to charge an electric vehicle both at home and on the road.