More than a fifth of motorists plan to buy an electric vehicle as their next car, which would lead to electricity overtaking diesel to become the nation’s second-favourite choice of powerplant if it actually happens.
While petrol continues to be the most popular choice, a survey of 7,205 motorists on behalf of electric vehicle website Driving Electric found 22% intended to buy an EV next, compared with 19% for diesel, 16% for hybrid, and 37% for petrol.
This indicates a shift in attitudes compared with a similar survey of 13,289 motorists two years ago by the site’s sister publication Auto Express. Back then, just 10% of buyers were said to be considering electric vehicles.
Of course, buying plans can very often change, so there is no certainty that all these people would go through with purchasing an electric car once it comes to signing on the dotted line. Despite the Auto Express research two years ago showing that 10% of buyers intended to switch to electric, the number of electric cars sold today is still only about 1% of total new car registrations.
The website says conversations with its readers also indicate that electric vehicle buyers are now more concerned with practicalities such as the extra boot space EVs tend to offer, rather than an eco-friendly image or fuel cost savings, indicating a switch to more mainstream buyers.
Vicky Parrott, associate editor of Driving Electric, said: “We’re now seeing a breakthrough in the perceptions of electric vehicles, from a niche phenomenon to a genuinely mainstream choice.
“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.”
Despite shifting attitudes, more choice in the market and increased sales, pure electric vehicles still make up a small share of new car sales in the UK. Between January and September this year, just 1.3% of sales were EVs, up from 0.6% in the same period last year.