Research indicates that many British consumers (38%) remain unaware of policy regarding electric cars and believe the government’s goal for at least 50% of new cars sold to be electric by 2030 is unrealistic.
Drivers said that they’ll wait nine years before they will buy an electric or hybrid vehicle, with lack of charging infrastructure and upfront expense cited as the most common impediments, even though research indicates that electric cars cost less over four years.
With drivers changing cars on average every 2-3 years, this means that they will likely purchase three cars before buying an EV. Only 26% would consider electric for their next car, the same percentage as when Auto Trader surveyed consumers in March 2017.
In general, consumers are increasingly mindful of the environmental impact of cars, with 56% of respondents saying that they care more about fuel types than they did 12 months ago.
Negative press around diesel cars has impacted their appeal amongst consumers, with half (52%) of those surveyed admitting that news reports have made them more likely to consider purchasing an alternative fuel car, including electric.
This is supported by consumers performing less searches for diesel cars and more for alternative fuel types (AFVs) on Auto Trader’s marketplace – diesel now only accounts for 47% of searches as of June 2018, down from its peak of 72% in June 2016, and interest in AFVs has grown from 2% to 4% over the same time period.
So, what is needed to persuade consumers to make the switch to electric? Drivers are split as to whether the proposed ban is a positive thing - with 40% for and against a ban.
And it seems existing government incentives aren’t helping buyers to make the switch either as 74% of those surveyed did not know that the government offers plug-in grants for buyers of electric and hybrid vehicles.
In addition to upscaling public charging infrastructure, there needs to be a clear roadmap outlined by the government and industry leaders to reassure consumers.
The fact that drivers are prepared to wait almost a decade suggests many are holding out for greater technological capabilities, including increased mileage per charge and more efficient batteries.