Research also found polarised attitudes to payment technology and apps for parking and EV charging.
New online research from Flowbird Smart City UK today reveals that just 12% of the UK population say they will drive an electric vehicle (EV) in the next five years. Whilst many motorists may end up making the switch sooner, with the right incentives, the results show a lack of firm commitment at this stage.
The How To Make Parking And EV Charging Work For Everyone white paper – commissioned by Flowbird Smart City UK, which presents research carried out by YouGov amongst over 2,000 UK residents – reveals new insights into UK attitudes relating to EVs and charging, driving and parking.
Despite individual scepticism, there was broad support for the EV transition, with 52% of respondents said more parking spaces should have EV charging points.
However, this EV infrastructure needs to be easy-to-use for everyone; 64% said there should be an on-the-spot payment option for EV charging and 42% said there should be an option to pay with cash.
Danny Hassett, Flowbird’s Managing Director Smart City UK, said:
The research suggests people support the EV transition but are still hesitant about making the switch themselves. More needs to be done to encourage people to switch to an EV and assure people that the switch will be smooth. Part of this will be ensuring accessible, easy to use charge points for all, and transparent payments for both parking and charging are available.
The research also showed that 22% of respondents said parking apps had made their lives easier, whilst 28% said they had not. A much higher number of retirees (39%) disliked the apps, indicating that many older people want non-smartphone-based payment options.
Two thirds (66%) found it frustrating to download multiple apps for different car parks.
Meanwhile, 55% said they would welcome the option to pay via smartphone without having to sign up to an app – such as the use of QR code scanning.
Over half of respondents (56%) said they expect to still pay for parking via a physical terminal some of the time, rising to 63% for retirees. This supports findings in a 2021 study by the British Parking Association¹ that 75% of parking payments are made in cash.
Danny Hassett commented:
All this shows that whilst apps are welcomed by many, there remains significant scepticism in others. Even amongst app users, most would prefer more integrated apps, or perhaps an app for their main car park and other options for when they travel. This underlines the importance of offering multiple options.
Recent years have seen dramatic changes in the parking landscape as new digital technologies have emerged, and as EV charging has become intertwined with parking. But all too often these technology solutions have been rushed out to solve problems before those problems are fully realised. We need to manage these transitions in a way that works for everyone – or we will derail it.
Commenting on the overall implications of this research, Hassett says:
If there was one overwhelming finding, it is that people are different. There is no universal appetite for one solution – different people have different needs and both parking and charging need to be inclusive.
Strategies should be focussed on the user, not the technology. We should start with user needs – guided by bigger picture trends such as electrification – and strategically deploy the right mix of technologies to meet these.
Paul O’ Grady
M: +49 176 82374030
About Flowbird Smart City UK
Flowbird Smart City UK’s full range of parking, transport, and charging technologies, alongside data-driven insights, help local authorities evolve with the needs of their users, young and old. Our sixty years’ experience as a trusted Local Authority partner, and our market-leading service support, make us the perfect partner to navigate changing demographics, digitalisation, and climate pressures.
About Flowbird’s Research
Flowbird Smart City UK commissioned YouGov Plc to canvass the views of 2,085 UK-based adults, of whom 67% were petrol or diesel drivers, 2% electric, 4% hybrid, and 25% non-drivers. Then the remaining 2% were split between rarer options including hydrogen and biofuels. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th – 28th April 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted, and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).