Electric cars are about to overtake diesels in popularity according to research by DrivingElectric.com. The independent electric vehicle consumer advice website found that double the number of drivers are planning to buy an EV compared with two years ago.
More than one in five drivers now say their next car will be all-electric – overtaking diesel and hybrid buying intentions for the first time – shooting EVs into second place as motorists’ preferred power option.
The findings are especially significant because they come from the mainstream car market, rather than an audience specifically interested in electric vehicles. The researchers say that interest from mainstream motorists is now only marginally trailing that of existing EV enthusiasts.
DrivingElectric.com has also detected a shift in buyers’ minds away from the classic selling points of fuel cost savings and ‘early adopter’ interest, focusing more on practicalities such as the enhanced boot space many EVs offer.
Two years ago just 10% of drivers named electric as their preferred power option, compared with 26% for diesel, 43% for petrol and hybrids taking third place, on 14%.
But EVs have now shot up to 22%, with diesel sliding to 19%, hybrids falling to 16% and petrol also significantly down, at 37%.
DrivingElectric.com is closely tracking the views of committed EV owners and prospective buyers, and is discovering that electric vehicles are no longer considered a niche option, for example, to be purchased as a second household car.
A recent DrivingElectric Showcase, in which motorists joined the DrivingElectric.com team to look at the latest EV models and discuss their future buying plans, revealed that comfort and practicality – especially load-carrying capacity – outweighed priorities such as fuel savings costs in the minds of many buyers. They also found that many buyers are looking to skip past plug-in hybrid cars and move directly from conventional fuel types to pure electric.
Perhaps most remarkably, those attending the DrivingElectric.com event were also only 2% more likely to be planning an EV purchase than the mainstream audience polled for the research.
Vicky Parrott, Associate Editor of DrivingElectric.com, said: “This is a big moment for the EV market, with electric cars poised to become the second most popular type on the road.
“We’re now seeing a breakthrough in the perceptions of electric vehicles, from a niche phenomenon to a genuinely mainstream choice.
“This is perfectly illustrated by the strength of interest among a non-specialist audience surfaced by our sister publication, Auto Express, and how closely it mirrored the buying plans of those who travelled from all over Britain to meet our team and look at the latest EVs.
“The views of car-buyers are clearly maturing as electric vehicles become more common. This means that the original chief selling points of EVs, such as very low running costs, are now being tempered by more traditional considerations around practicality, style, infotainment and comfort.”
* November 2017 survey of 13,289 motorists on AutoExpress.co.uk
** October 2019 survey of 7,205 motorists, on behalf of DrivingElectric.com, on AutoExpress.co.uk