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Interest in used electric cars dwindling but London bucks national trend as a result of Ulez – analysis

  • Demand for second-hand EVs has declined by more than half in past year, according to AA Cars
  • London is flying in face of national trend with year-on-year demand up because of Ulez
  • Experts expect interest to rise elsewhere as more councils introduce low emission zones
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Time 7:44 am, September 2, 2023

Used car buyers in London are flying in the face of national trends with interest in second-hand EVs rising as a result of the capital’s controversial Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez).

That’s according to AA Cars, which showed that interest elsewhere in the country is beginning to dwindle despite some positive signs.

The firm’s analysts found that EVs made up just five per cent of all searches in the first six months of this year – a 55 per cent drop on last year’s figure of 11.3 per cent.


In London, where Ulez was recently expanded to include the whole city, the trend is reversed, with EVs featuring in 10 per cent of searches versus 9.1 per cent last year.

Earlier this week, Car Dealer reported that used car retailers based inside the Ulez are now actively turning away part-exchanges that do not comply with the regulations.

One dealer told us that nobody in the city was buying diesels any more and labelled the situation ‘a joke’.


AA Cars says that used car buyers looking to go electric could now find themselves a bargain, with the average listing figure for all second-hand EVs and hybrids dropping by 3.9 per cent in Q2 alone.

The average now stands at £31,276 as opposed to the £32,549 figure seen in Q1. The Renault Zoe has seen the biggest fall in price – declining by 13 per cent to £14,046.

Biggest price falls for most popular cars on AA Cars

Source: AA Cars

AA Cars director Mark Oakley said: ‘Drivers have been buying EVs in ever-increasing numbers, but there are signs that interest may be cooling outside of London. This could be down to cost-of-living pressures pushing people towards buying cheaper petrol and diesel vehicles.

‘While the Ulez expansion is likely playing a part in keeping London demand steady as drivers look to future-proof themselves, it is clear that more needs to be done to promote EVs in order to accelerate their take-up.

‘Prices for used EVs on the AA Cars website are falling, which may entice more drivers to consider a second-hand electric vehicle for their next car.

‘However, while the cost of used EVs remain high compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts, more support may be needed from the government in the future to help cash-strapped consumers with their purchases.’

He added: ‘As more cities consider introducing clean air standards, interest in EVs should pick up further as drivers view them as a long-term option that will always make the grade when it comes to emissions standards.

‘Drivers are understandably keen to save money where they can at the moment.

‘We recommend that anyone buying a used car gets a vehicle inspection from a qualified engineer before parting with any money, as this will minimise the likelihood of you running into any unexpected — and potentially costly — issues in the future.’

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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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