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Electric & Autonomous Vehicles

Brits appetite for electric vehicles is waning – with Generation Z becoming increasingly uninterested

Brits’ long-term appetite for electric vehicles (EVs) appears to be in decline with fewer people saying they expect to own an EV in the next decade, a recent CarGurus study has found.

Despite petrol prices reaching record highs and the sale of new petrol and diesel cars banned from 2030, UK motorists’ appetite for EVs has decreased when comparing interest in 2021 versus 2022. Notably, potential ownership in the next five (44% vs 40%) and 10 years (66% vs 59%) both declined.

CarGurus research found the decrease in interest has come largely from the younger generation, with 18-29-year olds’ likelihood of EV adoption in the next 10 years dropping from 74% to 56% (18% decrease).

The drop in possible future EV ownership aligns to the decline in excitement about EVs among Gen Z, decreasing by 26% from 2021 to 2022.

However, research from used car buying platform CarGurus revealed consideration varied by age, as 30-44-year-old car buyers were increasingly open to buying an EV within the next decade, citing a 7% increase (65% to 72%) compared to 12 months ago.

The research also detailed the most important factors that would convince drivers to go electric.

Topping the list of incentives were more availability of charging stations (49%), technology improvements with reference to battery range and charge time (47%), and cost parity with ICE-vehicles (43%).

Tax incentives and rebates (33%) were also noted to be one of the most effective measures of convincing people to make the switch. This comes following the Government announcement earlier this year that it was closing the plug-in grant scheme to new orders.

CarGurus research also highlighted the most desirable car brands among potential EV drivers.

Ford, Audi and BMW claimed the top three spots, followed by Volkswagen and Tesla. Interest in Mercedes (-15%), BMW (-15%) and Audi (-14%) declined the most when comparing 2021 with 2022.

Most desired EV brands (2022 vs 2021) among potential EV buyers 

Rank Brand 2022 consideration 2021 consideration % change
1 Ford 35% 34% +1%
2 Audi 31% 45% -14%
3 BMW 29% 44% -15%
4 Volkswagen 29% 30% -1%
5 Tesla 27% 34% -7%
6 Toyota 25% 27% -2%
7 Hyundai 21% 17% -4%
8 Vauxhall 20% 21% -1%
9 Kia 20% 15% +5%
10 Nissan 19% 22% -3%
11 Mercedes-Benz 19% 34% -15%
12 Honda 17% 18% -1%
13 Renault 14% 13% +1%
14 Peugeot 14% 15% -1%
15 Volvo 13% 13% 0%

Alexandra Howerter, Senior Customer Insights Analyst at CarGurus, said: “Our research shows that we are still noting the same concerns around EVs that we have been hearing since they first started to emerge on the UK market, whether that be the availability of charge stations, or charging capacity improvements.

“Any future improvements to the electric vehicle infrastructure will seemingly have a positive impact on potential EV take up.”

CarGurus’ recommendations to dealerships to help increase EV interest

Start showing that the dealership is EV-friendly and plugged into growing interest from consumers

Train staff on how to explain the cost benefits of EVs

Familiarise buyers with charging infrastructure

Acquire a handful of EVs to make visible on the forecourt

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