Electric vehicles are poised for a breakthrough as an overwhelming majority of British motorists are now open to the idea of owning an electric car.
Two in three drivers can now see themselves owning an electric vehicle in the future, while searches for information and cars for sale are growing faster than for any other type of vehicle, according to the latest research into future car buying intentions.
The online motor retail specialist BuyaCar.co.uk regularly tracks consumer opinion on car-related matters by quizzing more than 1,000 drivers and analysing the cars that customers search for.
Their latest findings show a clear trend toward acceptance of electric vehicles, especially among younger drivers and will provide a boost to the government’s plans to promote electric cars. Earlier this month, Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, announced a target for half of new car sales to be made up of ultra low emission vehicles, such as electric cars, by 2040.
Worries over price, ease of charging and ‘range anxiety’ – the distance that electric cars can travel on a single charge – are diminishing, according to BuyaCar.co.uk’s research, as technology and the charging infrastructure improve.
Two years ago 40% of motorists told BuyaCar.co.uk they ruled out any prospect of ever buying an electric car. This year that figure had fallen to 33%.
The number of drivers who say they would buy an electric car if it were priced similarly to a conventional car has risen significantly from 28% to 35%.
Price equivalence is now cited by 60% of people as the main tipping point that would persuade them to go all-electric.
Wider availability of charging points across the country is the second most important factor, while the third is reduced ‘range anxiety’ – confidence that a full day’s driving can be completed without charging.
The increased interest in electric vehicles highlighted in the research is also confirmed by a 600% increase in searches for electric car models on the BuyaCar.co.uk website over the past 18 months. That means searches for electric vehicles on BuyaCar.co.uk are increasing at twice the rate of those for conventional cars.
BuyaCar.co.uk Managing Director, Austin Collins, said: “With low recharging costs, cheap company car tax and increasing range, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a sharp rise in interest around electric cars.
“Although fully electric cars still account for the smallest proportion of BuyaCar.co.uk sales, the fact that more consumers than ever before include them in their research to help decide on their next car is significant. It shows that real life behaviour is changing, as well as responses to our survey, and that people are now actively interested in these models.
“Almost one in three older drivers say they would not consider an EV simply because they ‘enjoy driving’ conventional petrol and diesel cars.
“But as electric vehicles become more widely accepted and more drivers are exposed to their strengths and low running costs we expect that attachment to conventional engines to reduce over time.
“Meanwhile, for the first time since EVs were made widely available, we seem to be poised for a breakthrough and widespread adoption is now a question of when rather than if.”