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As the cost of living rockets, price comparison experts CompareNI.com asked consumers across Northern Ireland how they really feel about electric versus fossil fuel cars (petrol/diesel) and which they found most cost effective.

The new survey reveals that 62.7% of petrol/diesel drivers will only consider buying an electric or hybrid vehicle ‘when I absolutely have to’.  25.4% said they would buy ‘within the next 5 years’, 7.7% said they would ‘buy now / as soon as is feasibly possible’ and only 4.3% said they’d buy ‘just before the deadline’ – 2030, when the government plan on banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

The research also found that the main barrier that is stopping people in Northern Ireland from buying an electric car is the price, with 37.8% of drivers saying they are too expensive, followed by worries over range anxiety 19.2%, and availability of public charging points, 18.3%.

Interestingly though, 37% of those with electric cars said they were saving over £100 per month compared to their previous fossil fuel vehicle – with 46.3% saving under £100 per month.  Only 16.7% didn’t believe they were making savings.

When electric vehicle owners were asked what they didn’t like about their cars, 30.8% said there weren’t enough readily available charging points, followed by broken charging points at 18.5% and rising energy costs, 15.4%.

The data, compiled by CompareNI.com, was taken from a survey of 1000 electric and petrol / diesel car insurance policyholders, 500 across Great Britain (GB) and 500 from Northern Ireland, completed in August 2022.

Ian Wilson, Managing Director of Northern Ireland’s largest price comparison website, CompareNI.com, comments: “It’s interesting to see how people in Northern Ireland feel about electric versus fossil fuel cars compared to people in England, Wales and Scotland.  Electric car drivers here appear to save less, with just 37% saving over £100 per month on their electric car compared to 57.9% in GB – with an increase of 10.6% more drivers in Northern Ireland saying they didn’t save at all.   There’s also slightly more of a concern over the charging infrastructure itself, with broken charging points ranking higher up the list of worries in Northern Ireland.

“One positive point to bear in mind for those worried about costs, is that electric car insurance is now more readily available as the majority of insurance providers have added electric cars to their offering – making it easier for consumers to shop around and get a competitive premium.”

Currently only 2% of cars are hybrid and 3% are electric in the UK.  Data from CompareNI.com shows a small increase in customers with electric or hybrid cars of 0.2% from June 2021 compared to June 2022 – with the average cost of those electric vehicles increasing by £5k from £34,000 to £39,000.  The government has been increasing investment in charging points, including grants for motorists, as well as tax relief to help make electric vehicles more affordable.

CompareNI.com is Northern Ireland’s largest price comparison website, and has helped over 650,000 users compare products from over 200 providers including electric car insurance, breakdown cover and standard car insurance. CompareNI.com is recommended by 97% of reviewers on Reviews.co.uk.