More needs to be done to encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrols and diesels, Cox Automotive has warned.
While the Tesla Model 3 came out on top in last month’s best-selling cars list, as published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the company believes not enough is being done by manufacturers and dealers to meet clean air targets.
It said that while registrations of the American electric car stood at 5,468 units in June, its sales performance was against a backdrop of an automotive market that stood at just 186,000 units sold – down almost 16 per cent from seasonal norms.
Philip Nothard, insight and strategy director at Cox Automotive, said: ‘While the EV segment is undoubtedly growing fast, this is against an overall reduction in new vehicle sales.
‘Some major barriers still stand in the way of mass EV purchasing, including range anxieties and concerns around the high cost of new EVs.
‘Many motorists still need more convincing to go electric, along with better financial incentives and information, if we are going to be ready for the switch to electric new vehicles by 2030.’
A recent consumer survey of 1,500 drivers by automotive data specialists firm Regit, in partnership with Cox Automotive, found that more than half (56 per cent) of drivers would consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase.
This is backed up by data from Auto Trader showing that there is an increased demand for electric vehicles across both new and used vehicles.
As of July 17, battery electric vehicles took a 12 per cent share of daily advert views on Auto Trader’s platform, while used BEVs took a 1.6 per cent share – up from just over four per cent and one per cent respectively since January.
However, the survey also revealed that 92 per cent raised concerns about the current charging infrastructure and the cost of new EVs (72 per cent).
Cox Automotive also said similar challenges exist in the used market.
The same survey found 45 per cent of drivers would consider buying a used electric vehicle, against a backdrop of attractive incentives for customers of new electric cars.
Chris Green, Regit chief commercial officer and founder said: ‘UK motorists are becoming increasingly aware of EVs and their benefits.
‘The fact more are considering them as their next car purchase shows a shift in attitude and awareness.
‘However, there is more work to be done to convert consumers from considerers to purchasers, whether it be from the manufacturer, motor traders or the UK government.’
Regit found that 79 per cent of consumers consider emissions an important factor in their choice of new vehicle, while 64 per cent welcome the introduction of clean air zones.
Nothard believes that the current sustainability movement, if backed by the right government incentives and supported by more information about EVs by dealerships and manufacturers, could accelerate EV purchases and make a difference when it comes to phasing out new ICE sales.
Dealers can play a crucial role during this transition for the new and increasing used EV market
He said: ‘Following cuts to the Plug-in Car Grant and Van & Truck Grant (PiCG), combined with the higher upfront cost of EVs and lack of new vehicle supply, motorists are likely to stick with cars that are powered by internal combustion engines because they are cheaper and easier to run.
‘Regit found that a little over half of consumers believe they do not have sufficient information to make the switch to an electric vehicle, while two-thirds are unaware of any incentives to switch to EV.
‘Dealers can play a crucial role during this transition for the new and increasing used EV market, especially in terms of informing their customers and helping them find the vehicle that suits their needs and driving habits.
‘Affordable and accessible EVs are available on the used market and could provide the use case required to convert even more new EV sales.’
Jon Davies, brand partnerships and EV strategy director at Auto Trader UK, added: ‘To support electric vehicle uptake, we believe we need to see greater incentives, investment and information from the government.
‘Greater incentives to deal with the prohibitive up-front cost for many consumers and lack of consumer choice, both on new cars but crucially also on younger used vehicles.
‘More investment to get over the infrastructure barrier. Perception of infrastructure issues is one of the top two barriers (after cost) listed by consumers.
‘Lastly, we believe we need to see more information to make this new industry understandable to all. 40 per cent of consumers, we asked don’t know government grants are even available, let alone understanding the different charging speeds.’