Almost half of all car buyers are considering an electric or hybrid purchase in the next five years

In 2018 the Government announced plans to ban the new sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and intends to see 50% of all new vehicle sales to be in the ultra-low emissions category by 2030.

Perhaps to reinforce this decision, and arguably to force the pace of change we are now seeing increasing car tax rates on the most heavily polluting types of cars and the creation of new city centre clean air zones. From April of this year most diesel drivers in London will be liable to the new ULEZ Charges of £12.50/day (Ultra Low Emission Zone). These zones are likely to be extended across the country in the coming years.

Are these policies, the continued long term increases in fuel prices, and the rising concerns over the environmental impact of motoring finally beginning to influence the car buyers of tomorrow?

Data Pad undertook a survey of current car owners and whether their next potential vehicle purchase might be impacted by these influences.

The research identified:

  • Current ownership of petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid models
  • How likely the people would be to change their car in the next five years
  • Whether they were considering the purchase of an electric or hybrid car
  • Amongst those changing we wanted to establish the reasons for and against electric and hybrid ownership
  • Finally, we wanted to gauge awareness of the governments long term plans and if consumers believed these could be delivered

We presented this survey to our online panel, OpinionHive. Our Opinionhivers are exclusively used for Data Pad customers. We believe the best panels are those which create a community and values its members.

We ensure that our surveys are short and interesting, and we take great care to make sure our members are engaged and active. To guarantee we can answer your business questions fast, we supply the results, which includes full charts and tables, within 24 hours of the close of fieldwork.

We always supply a 2000 nationally representative sample of the UK, by age, gender and region, to ensure that the results would give our clients an accurate picture of the market in the UK.

So, what did we learn from this research?

The Government’s plans announced back in 2018 have been heard by the majority. Amongst all respondents, 61% were aware of that the UK Government recently set out the goals to end the sales of new petrol and diesel, and 55% were aware that it intended to do so by 2040.

When asked if they supported the Government’s ambition. Opinion was clearly split with 31% agreeing, 32% disagreeing and 37% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. As to whether the Government could achieve this goal only a quarter of our nationally representative sample believed that this would be possible. Despite this negativity is there evidence to suggest we are listening?

In line with industry numbers our data reports that just under 1% of households today own an electric or hybrid car, yet clearly attitudes are changing as amongst those that are planning a car purchase in the next 5 years (40% of our sample), one in five have suggested that this might be an electric car and 40% were considering a hybrid model.

Who are these buyers? The good news for the industry is that they are broadly spread across the age groups with only a marginal bias amongst older drivers to select the hybrid version.

The principle reason amongst those that would not consider the purchase of a hybrid car, was the higher purchase price. The choice of an all-electric car was similarly disadvantaged by purchase price but also concerns raised over charging the vehicle and mileage range.

Reasons for not purchasing an electric vehicle
Reasons for not purchasing an electric vehicle

In summary, this research clearly illustrates that many UK car owners are now seriously considering their options when it comes to their next vehicle purchase. The data also highlights that the preference today is more likely to be for a hybrid model rather than a full electric car.

This data should serve as a clarion call for manufacturers to step up both availability and choice of models, for the maintenance industry to deliver the appropriate skills and training to support these vehicles on the road, and for the continued investment in infrastructure development (eg roadside charging points).

To get a full copy of the report or to commission your own study, contact Data Pad now.

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