The electric car market could be transformed “overnight” if the half a million UK motorists already suited to electric motoring switched to plug-in power.
According to research from Go Ultra Low, the joint government and automotive industry campaign, profiled the mind-set of more than 2,000 UK motorists to see how their new car requirements have changed over time.
The research compared new vehicle buyers’ purchase considerations and their driving habits to those of existing electric car drivers to identify motorists who were better-suited to an electric car.
Of those surveyed, almost half drive no more than 15 miles a day, while 98% said they travel less than 100 miles daily – within the range of pure electric vehicles (EVs) and easily achievable in a plug-in hybrid.
The survey also revealed that buyers increasingly seek low running costs and are twice as likely to rate fuel efficiency as their main concern when purchasing a car, compared to when they bought their first car.
Also, around 80% of car buyers use finance options to purchase their car with a preference for monthly payments.
Despite this, just 12% of new car buyers consider total monthly running costs, including fuel, tax, insurance, and servicing when choosing their new car.
Currently, around 1.4% of new cars purchased are electric, a figure that could, Go Ultra Low suggests, “rocket instantly” to more than 20% if drivers matched their stated purchase considerations, in particular low driving costs, and driving habits with the 30+ plug-in vehicles now on the market.
Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “The plug-in car market has been boosted by unprecedented growth over the last 12 months.
“Our research shows that more motorists than ever are perfectly suited to electric motoring and should consider a plug-in vehicle as their next car.
“With low running costs, tax exemptions and free parking in many locations, it’s no longer a question of will more motorists choose electric, but when.”
January to March sales of plug-in cars reached a record high in the UK, with 10,496 new EVs registered in the first three months of 2016.
This represents the highest-ever number of EV registrations in a quarter and a 22.7% increase over the same period in 2015.
There have now been 71,463 claims for the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant, which offers up to £4,500 off the price of a new electric car.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “The case for switching to an electric car is clear, and it’s not surprising to see that sales are soaring.
“Electric cars are greener, cheaper to run, and we are making them more affordable by investing more than £600million to support the uptake and manufacturing of these vehicles in the UK.
“This is all part of our commitment to making every car and van a zero emission vehicle by 2050.”
Go Ultra Low helps motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the ultra low emission vehicles on the market. The collaborative campaign is the first of its kind, bringing together a consortium of vehicle manufacturers, government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Go Ultra Low is embarking on a new print and broadcast advertising campaign to demonstrate how EVs are “fun and exciting to drive”.
The campaign will also highlight the thousands of charge points available across the country enabling EV owners to drive the length and breadth of Britain.