Press release

UK drivers don’t plan on buying an electric car for almost a decade

UK drivers don’t plan on buying an electric car for almost a decade

Auto Trader’s research shows that many drivers are looking to move away from petrol and diesel cars but lack of charging infrastructure and confusing terminology remain significant barriers to electric car adoption amongst UK drivers.

  • Drivers say they will wait an average of nine years to buy an electric car
  • Drivers are split as to whether the proposed 2040 ban is a positive thing - with 40% each in favour and against
  • 74% did not know that the government offers plug-in grants for buyers of electric and hybrid vehicles

With the long-awaited publication of the Government’s Road to Zero report last month, new research carried out by the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, Auto Trader, indicates that many 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.

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low says: “Drivers making the switch are already reaping the benefits. EVs can be driven for as little as 2p per mile, compared with 10-12p for a conventionally powered vehicle, meaning the typical car owner can save hundreds of pounds every year in fuel costs alone. There are also additional savings such as tax benefits and reduced servicing and maintenance costs.

 

“Although charging is one of the biggest barriers to mass consumer uptake, almost half of motorists drive less than 15 miles a day, while 98% said they travel less than 100 – well within the range of pure electric vehicles and easily achievable in a plug-in hybrid. What’s more, charging data also shows more than 90% of all EV charging takes place at home, bringing added convenience for drivers.”

 

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. Auto Trader’s findings also reveal that the terminology surrounding electric vehicles, which 55% describe as ‘confusing’, is another obstacle.

Auto Trader’s Editorial Director, Erin Baker, says of the findings: “There’s no doubt that electric vehicles are the future, however, our research indicates that there are still significant barriers to adoption, with greater investment in infrastructure and technology needed. It’s also crucial that car manufacturers and the government alike ensure that language to describe electric cars is clear and accessible, rather than laden with technological jargon that consumers may find alienating.”

Notes to Editors:

Over 1,000 drivers were surveyed in August 2018 by Acacia Avenue on behalf of Auto Trader.

About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland’s largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK’s vehicle buying process and its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 250 Index.

The marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. Auto Trader has over 88% prompted brand awareness and attracts an average of 55 million monthly cross platform visits a month, with circa 70% of visits coming through mobile devices.

The marketplace also has the largest pool of vehicle sellers (listing more than 470,000 cars each day). Over 80% of UK automotive retailers advertise on autotrader.co.uk.

Over 75% of all time spent on UK automotive sites is spent on Auto Trader. 20% more leads were delivered to retailers in 2021 than in 2020, a sign of strong buyer intent and the ever-increasing importance of online in the buying process. https://t.co/AySv9w7RwG
Over 75% of all time spent on UK automotive sites is spent on Auto Trader. 20% more leads were delivered to retailers in 2021 than in 2020, a sign of strong buyer intent and the ever-increasing importance of online in the buying process. https://t.co/YiU38W6Vc5
Our CEO Nathan Coe will be live on next week's webinar to answer your questions. You can submit your questions to him in the comments and when you register to join the webinar live at https://t.co/rdtNiD8APu https://t.co/d99VfhPofQ
Last week saw the 89th week of consecutive used car price growth, with prices rising 28.6% year-on-year. With used car prices continuing to rise it’s crucial to keep repricing your stock inline with the market to ensure you aren’t leaving profit on the table. https://t.co/MRHJVoNvzs
2021 was a record year for new electric vehicles on our marketplace which saw a record number of advert views in 2021, with 1 in 5 new car advert views now for an electric vehicle. What EVs do you think we'll see drawing the most attention in 2022? https://t.co/niblnnJaPl
Looking to evolve your business by breaking free of outdated data feeds and enabling your customers to have a real-time view of your digital forecourt? Then check out our ‘Essentials to connected retailing’ masterclass now 👉 https://t.co/VggO5GDvFa https://t.co/hRUW9aXDTf
We’re still faced with an element of uncertainty when it comes to the pandemic which means you need to be prepared for any eventuality. So in this week’s tip of the week, @AndrewKorpela shares some top tips on how to make sure you're prepared for whatever is thrown at you next. https://t.co/9cKawLT6Q9
In his latest update, our CEO Nathan Coe shares our latest market insights, including an analysis of consumer demand and pricing, and reveals our plans for 2022. https://t.co/oyxwpJf2U1
With record numbers of new electric vehicle sales and, as we reveal in our latest blog, an electric vehicle being the fastest selling of any used vehicle in 2021, last year really was a victory for voltage 👇 https://t.co/j4Al3nByBL
In our latest Monthly Market Intelligence Report, we analyse the 3 key trends that came to define the automotive industry in 2021, record demand, the growth in used car prices and the acceleration of EV adoption 👉https://t.co/tVW6vpQjxm Will these trends continue through 2022? https://t.co/rITl15odBm

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

Keep in touch

We use social media to speak to the UK’s largest car buying audience