Car buyers back delay to 2030 ban as more than ever say they will NEVER go electric

  • Auto Trader finds significant jump in number of people saying they’ll never buy an electric car
  • Number of people saying they will go electric before than ban drops by ten per cent
  • eBay Motors Group study reveals potential EV buyers are now changing their minds
  • Regit says its users remain unconvinced that electric cars are the future

Time 8:17 am, September 26, 2023

More car buyers than ever say they will never buy an EV as motorists back the delay to the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.

A new study by Auto Trader has found that the number of people claiming they’ll never buy an EV has nearly doubled, on the back of the government’s U-turn last week.

Of the 1,700 in-market car buyers who responded to questioning, 37 per cent said they were unlikely to ever buy an EV.

The figure is close to double the 21 per cent of people who said they would never go electric when the 2030 ban was initially announced, two years ago.

On the flip side, those saying they will buy an EV by the time the ban is in place now stands at 39 per cent, a ten per cent drop on 2021.

Auto Trader also found that the drastic change in approach has confused buyers on what the government’s approach is to electric cars. A whopping 70 per cent did not even realise the policy only relates to new cars and not used.

Responding the findings, Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, said: ‘The government’s u-turn has clearly muddled the message on electric vehicles and this confusion has led to a doubling of the number of people saying they’ll never buy an electric car.

‘The government’s decision to push the deadline back to 2035 is deeply unhelpful because of the doubt and negativity it spreads – but regardless of the date of the ban, the broader industry is committed to delivering an electric future.

‘Advert views for new and used electric cars remain stable on Auto Trader, showing that those in the market haven’t been deterred. Yet these survey results show that in the long term, mass electric adoption has been made a trickier task.

‘The truth is, with the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate still in place, very little will actually change in the wake of the delayed ban and so the only real impact will be dented consumer confidence in electric cars, as demonstrated by our survey results.’

Auto Trader’s findings were mirrored by a study by eBay Motors Group, which found that only 16 per cent of all buyers are now planning to purchase an EV.

The firm’s investigation also found that 40 per cent of those planning to purchase an EV within six months have now changed their minds.

Of the 2,004 used car buyers that the group spoke to, 29 per cent remained undecided on whether or not to go electric.

Lucy Tugby, marketing director of eBay Motors Group, said: ‘Our research reveals the negative impact the government’s announcement on moving the ICE ban from 2030 to 2035 is already having on in-market EV buyers, with two in five now unlikely to go ahead with their purchase and some even reverting back to petrol and diesel options.

‘Looking at wider trends, the research also highlights a decline in EV consideration among buyers both before and after the announcement, with the shifting date only having a limited impact on overall purchasing decisions.

‘The shift to 2035 comes at a particularly challenging time for EV sales with retail demand cooling in the new market and used buyers hesitant over exposure to price drops. We worry that the change will add a further layer of uncertainty for buyers and dealers.’

Drivers likely to choose alternative over electric – poll

A separate poll, carried out by Regit, found that motorists remain unconvinced by electric cars.

In a survey of 4,000 of its users, 59 per cent said they don’t believe electric vehicles are as clean as they’re made out to, be while 50 per cent told the firm that the priority for investment should be on alternative fuels.

Voters also emphatically backed the government’s decision to push back the 2030 date, with 80 per cent supporting the decision.

Chris Green, Regit CEO and founder, said: ‘The decision to postpone the 2030 ban has been a long time in the making and is the result of years of mismanagement and poor planning by this government.

‘The cost of living crisis has ultimately forced their hand and made Mr Sunak make the announcement to postpone now, as the cost to switch to electric vehicles for the majority of us is too high.

‘Given we’re the only major European economy to not offer any financial support for those switching to electric vehicles it’s no real surprise that motorists are being priced out and, when you add the well-publicised problems with infrastructure into the mix, it’s clear this government has simply put too many barriers in the way of mass adoption.

‘The news has quite rightly angered manufacturers who have been doing their bit to help with the switchover, but the focus now needs to be on getting as many people as possible into cleaner vehicles in line with what they can afford – and I expect hybrids to play a huge role here.

‘There will be many more twists and turns to come ahead of 2035 and it remains to be seen whether alternative fuels can also prove to be a viable solution.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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