Consumer research and consumer trends data from Auto Trader shows that while consideration in EVs is the highest ever, there is still a way to go to meet the government’s new target.
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The consumer research conducted in August surveyed around 1,500 consumers to dig into their car buying intentions and revealed:
With 77 percent of car buyers considering buying an EV, interest in electric vehicles is the highest it’s ever been
91 percent are concerned about the impact of cars on the environment – and half are more concerned than they were a few years ago
53 percent are considering an EV because of cost savings associated with running costs, 48 percent said it was to reduce pollution
62 percent of people in urban areas are considering an EV, compared to 45 percent of people in rural areas and villages
Although more people are considering an EV, conversion from consideration to purchase remains low as reflected in new car sales numbers.
“In order to meet the government’s new ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, the sale of EVs must overtake the sale of traditional ICE cars by 2024” said Ian Plummer, director at Auto Trader, commenting on the government bringing forward ban of petrol and diesel cars to 2030. “But, on the current sales trajectory this won’t happen until 2029. It’s clear that electric vehicles need to be the preferred option to the masses and not just to those who are environmentalists, early adopters or the wealthy that can afford their high price tags, but that isn’t the case yet. Over the last six months, while supply levels of EVs have increased with the launch of several new models, consumer demand hasn’t increased at the same pace. In a world of so much unrest, consumers have stuck to what they know – particularly petrol cars.
More than half of car buyers are concerned about the charging infrastructure in the UK, but latest EVs boast far greater range capabilities than first generation versions, replacing range-anxiety with ‘charging-anxiety’. But with a persistent price gap often as much as 15-20 percent more compared to petrol or diesel equivalents, the key barrier to mass adoption remains upfront cost according to 61 percent of car buyers that we surveyed in August. This is even more of a concern with no Brexit trade deal; tariffs of around 10 percent will be applied to cars coming into the UK so the cost of electric vehicles could be as much as 30 percent more than what consumers are used to spending on petrol and diesel cars today. When we asked car buyers what potential incentives would encourage them to buy an EV, 72 percent said no road tax and 61 percent said government grants to help with the cost of purchase.
Commitment to greener vehicles is vital and one we absolutely support, but bringing the ban of petrol and diesel cars forward again without a significant increase in budget doesn’t give the industry enough support to facilitate the adoption of zero emissions vehicles. While the government’s new commitment might be second behind Norway, we are a considerable distance behind them in terms of market share and valuable incentives which make a huge difference to the overall cost and therefore adoption levels. The incredibly ambitious targets are empty without a clear, substantial path to help consumers make the change to EVs.
But it’s not just consumer demand we have to contend with. Without a EU trade deal in place, the UK won’t be considered a viable market for manufacturers to send new EV stock to. Now is the time for all industry stakeholders to come together so that we can make meaningful change in the adoption of EVs, otherwise the government’s ambitious target remains far out of reach.”
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