Petrol prices drive up EV interest

Auto Trader has reported that rising prices on the forecourt have invigorated interest in electric vehicles.

It found that the proportion of electric cars viewed on its marketplace had dropped from a high of 26% in late September 2021 to just 16% in February. But since prices at the pumps started to rocket, so has consumer interest with EV searches now accounting for 20% of all advert views.

However, Auto Traders suggests this may be just a temporary spike, with EV prices dampening demands. It suggests that without the impetus of rising petrol prices or challenges to access, interest in EVs is waning. With the average new EV costing 35% more than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car, the report highlights the ‘green premium’ as a major barrier to entry for most buyers.

It says that 55% of those looking at a potential EV purchase have incomes above £50,000, and more than half, or 56%, of EV viewers are 45 or over.

Ian Plummer, Auto Trader’s commercial director, said: “At a time when consumers are facing increasing financial pressure, it’s perhaps no surprise that even the more affluent motorist may be hesitating to make the switch to EVs. However, with fuel prices at record levels, and only set to increase over the coming months, there’s a clear opportunity for the industry – information and education on the lower running costs of EVs have never been more important.

“Our analysis shows that EV owners can save £140 every 1,000 miles, which is up on the £100 we recorded just a few months ago – it’s this level of detail on cost savings that will be key to softening the impact of the green premium and bringing EVs into line with their petrol or diesel equivalents.”