Exclusive: ‘Petrol anxiety’ fuels interest in electric cars, says Auto Trader exec
Since panic buying of fuel started at the end of last week, there has been a significant increase in interest in electric vehicles.
Searches for used EVs increased by over 60 per cent versus the previous weekend, according to Auto Trader, by far the UK’s largest automotive marketplace.
“The events of the past few days mean we are entering the age of fuel anxiety,” Ian Plummer, commercial director of the platform, shared with City A.M.
He said: “We have seen 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 electric models increase a record 28 per cent and 61 per cent 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.”
Plummer argued that this suggests that “people aren’t simply flirting with the idea of electric but have been encouraged to actively pursue a purchase.”
Government’s road to zero agenda
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 relatively 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.
Plummer agreed with that view.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Plummer concluded.