A third of motorists are unable to afford even the cheapest electric car, experts warn.
The figure – equivalent to ten million households – highlights how many ordinary families will struggle to finance the switch from petrol and diesel cars being pushed by ministers.
Even middle-earning households will have difficulty paying for one of the cheapest leased electric vehicles – the £170-a-month Skoda Citigo.
The analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) shows drivers need to be spending at least £2,100 a year on their current car, including fuel, to comfortably afford an electric vehicle.
Households that spend around £1,800 could afford a plug-in car at a squeeze, butthose who spend around £1,400 will have difficulty. Drivers who spend up to that will find it impossible to afford.
CEBR economists said the research proves that ‘access to an electric vehicle is a pipe dream for a third of the population’.
The findings are a blow to Government plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Motor groups have described the £12billion plan as ‘incredibly ambitious’ when plug-ins account for just 0.3 per cent of vehicles.
High up-front costs and a lack of road chargers have been blamed for stagnating demand.
Entry-level electric vehicles are around £5,000 more expensive than equivalent fuel models.
Although electric cars have a higher up-front cost, the average lifetime running expense – including purchase – is £52,100, against £53,600 for petrol.
One in six English councils has failed to install chargers on residential roads, even though 2.8million will be needed.
Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK pressure group, said the plans risk ‘demonising’ petrol and diesel drivers unable to afford the switch to electric.
He added: ‘Has the Government asked low income households, families and hard-pressed small businesses if they have signed up to their inequitable green revolution?’