EV demand hits price barrier

AutoTrader has reported an unexpected decline in interest in electric vehicles on its website.

Pure electric vehicles accounted for 11.6% of new car sales in 2021, up from 6.6% in 2020, but AutoTrader believes that the sky-high price of EVs could derail efforts to wean motorists off petrol and diesel vehicles.

Now, in its latest Road to 2030 report, AutoTrader has revealed that the proportion of electric cars viewed on its marketplace has dropped from a high of 26% in late September 2021 when the petrol crisis took hold, to just 16% in February.

Price is cited as a main influence. While the gap between the cost of new EVs and a new petrol and diesel cars has narrowed very marginally, EVs are still 37% more expensive on average. There is also a significant differential in the used electric market where EV models are on average £8,000 more expensive than their petrol/diesel equivalents.

Erin Baker, editorial director, said: “When you look at the demographic profile of people who are currently searching for electric cars on Auto Trader you see it’s predominantly older, richer people living in affluent parts of the country, a trend at odds with the ‘normal’ profile of early technology adopters who tend to be young and metropolitan.

“Sooner or later we will run out of people who are rich enough to buy electric cars, and the latest data from our marketplace could be an early indication of what’s to come. It’s a canary in the coalmine moment and the government needs to take notice if it wants to keep the rate of adoption on track for 2030.”