Auto Trader's Commercial Director, Ian Plummer, highlights the response to the recent panic buying of petrol and diesel
Ian Plummer, Commercial Director, Auto Trader:
“We are all familiar with the idea of range anxiety, but the events of the past few days mean we are entering the age of fuel anxiety. A result of which led to a massive surge in consumer engagement for electric cars on our marketplace over the weekend. Not only did the number of advert views for new and used models increase a record 28% and 61% respectively versus the previous weekend, but we also saw a huge uplift in the number of people sending enquiries to retailers, with one sent every two minutes. This suggests that people aren’t simply flirting with the idea of electric but have been encouraged to actively pursue a purchase. Accordingly, we expect retailers with electric stock to do particularly well this week.]
“This weekend four out of five of the top performing new cars on Auto Trader were electric, with the Hyundai IONIQ 5 coming out top, followed by the Ford Mustang Mach-E. The launch of these ‘cool’ and aspirational models have been key to shifting the consumer perception of electric. This has been accelerated further by the significant increase in advertising among manufacturers, which is helping to drive awareness and dispel lingering myths.
“However, despite this boost in activity, it’s unlikely to represent a major step towards the Government’s Road to Zero ambitions. That’s because electric cars are prohibitively expensive for the majority of people, and despite the significant increase in range performance among new models, capable of reaching around 250 miles on a single charge, concerns of an inadequate charging infrastructure remain. To make them a genuinely viable option for mainstream buyers, we need more commitment to provide greater incentives to deal with the upfront cost, as well as more investment to improve the national infrastructure to support both those rare long journeys, and those without access to home charging.
“Concern about petrol availability won’t end when the pumps start up again, and so this increased interest represents a unique opportunity to inform, to excite and to incentivise car owners to make the switch. If the Government is serious about reaching its 2030 targets, then it is one it can ill afford to miss.”