Why I haven't bought an electric car yet - reader opinion

What's stopping more people from buying an electric car? We ask someone who's holding back for now...

Hidden EV

“I have a wife and two young children, and I also like to drum, so I need a fair bit of space," says What Car? reader David Stout. "I’ve tested quite a few electric cars – most recently the Peugeot e-208 and Hyundai Ioniq and, a few years back, the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.

“As you might guess, that means I really want to buy an electric car. What held me back initially, on the Zoe and Leaf, was that the range on offer would have compromised me occasionally. With the expected pace of improvement, I just thought I’d wait.

“While that concern is now much less, the cost of these types of cars hasn’t come down as I hoped it might. I understand that’s a result of the ranges going up, but at £250-£400 a month, depending on spec, I just can’t afford it. I’m caught between not being able to afford a new electric car and not wanting a used one because it won't quite fit into my life.

Skoda Citigo e iV 2020 RHD front right tracking

“Now, I’m still keen, and I’m still browsing deals. You might argue I just want a car I can’t afford; I’ve noticed that as competition hots up, the prices for the Zoe and Ioniq have dipped below £200 a month recently, while the Skoda Citigo e (above) is very interesting, if small. But I also have to be honest and say that the greater choice has given me some reason to pause.

“Of all the electric cars I’ve tried, the e-208 (below) is the one I want, but it's only just gone on sale and I want to wait until prices fall a bit. I know that might sound contrary, and a couple of years ago I will freely admit that I would basically have bought any electric car with a 190 to 250-mile official range. But now I have choice, I’m much more fussy. Where I would have accepted a slightly tinny interior finish just to have an electric car, now I’ve seen that it is possible to have everything, I want more for my money.

Peugeot e-208

“I want functionality, range and quality at a decent price, and given that doesn’t appear to be too far off, I'm more willing to wait for competition to increase (with the launch of the Volkswagen ID 3 hatchback, for example) and see how that might affect the prices of the car I actually want, the e-208.

“I’ve looked at some plug-in hybrids too, because they should make sense for me, given that I do longer journeys regularly. The truth is, however, that if I’m going to go electric, I just want to dive in; a halfway house doesn’t have the same appeal.

"The only thing that could make my mind more certain on wanting an electric car would be if manufacturers offered longer test drives; an hour in an electric car is not enough to be certain that it will do all you need it to do. Real-life test opportunities – say, 48 hours – feel crucial to me.”

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Save money on a new Peugeot e-208 with What Car? New Car Buying >>


Best and worst electric cars

Like the idea of going electric, but not sure what to buy? Here we count down our current top 10 – and reveal the electric car that's best avoided:

10. Tesla Model X

Save money on a new Tesla Model X with What Car? >>

Tesla Model X

On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream all-rounder, combining the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do feel a little cheap given the price.

Read our full Tesla Model X review >>


9. Seat Mii Electric

Save money on a new Seat Mii Electric with What Car? >>

Seat Mii Electric 2019 LHD front cornering shot

If you're looking for a small electric car to primarily use in the city, the Mii Electric should definitely be on your shortlist. It might not have the range to match larger electric cars, but that means costs are kept sensible, and we reckon 161 miles on a full charge should still be enough for most buyers. 

Read our full Seat Mii Electric review >>


8. Mercedes EQC

Save money on a new Mercedes EQC with What Car? >>

Mercedes-Benz EQC front three quarters

The EQC is a brilliant choice if you want to maximise the peace and quiet offered by going electric: it really is incredibly hushed on the move. But while it's generally comfortable on motorways, it doesn't ride as well as the very best rivals and its range is someway off the Jaguar I-Pace's.