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70% of drivers would turn to leasing to trial EVs, survey shows

Electric smart car recharging

A survey from Auto Trader has found that 70% of drivers would prefer to lease an electric vehicle (EV) for a two to three year period before buying it outright.

The survey of 2,025 UK drivers for the company’s latest report Long Term Test Drive, revealed that 70% of UK motorists would be interested in leasing an EV for a two to three year prolonged test-drive, getting to getting to grips with the features and technology before committing to purchasing.

Although 73% of respondents said they would consider purchasing an EV within the next four years, 40% of those admit they still have reservations about the capabilities of EVs.

More than half of motorists (51%) said range anxiety is the biggest turn-off, followed by a concern for lack of available charging points across the UK (49%) and in local areas (48%).

The cost of the car itself was found to be another worry for 44% of motorists, as well as how long it would take to recharge (42%).

The appeal of EVs and hybrids waned during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the results of research conducted by Close Brothers Motor Finance. 

Auto Trader said that using leasing as a form of prolonged test drive for EVs could dispel concerns surrounding the technology.

Auto Trader’s Rory Reid, said: “Buying a new car can be a big commitment, so it makes sense that some are considering leasing as a viable alternative, especially when using it as a way to ‘test drive’ a car for longer periods. Leasing for a couple of years gives drivers the time they need to fully get to know the vehicle and understand their own feelings about it.

“In the case of EVs, this would provide plenty of time to help drivers dispel any worries, become accustomed to the technology and see how accessible and easy charging can be. It’s also a fraction of the price of purchasing outright, so if after 2 years you’re not sold, you can simply return the vehicle.”

However, according to recent market research, also conducted by Auto Trader, as many as nine out of 10 consumers are worried about the impact of petrol and diesel cars on the environment and, therefore, support schemes to help motorists to go green.

The try-before-you-buy approach is also popular amongst those who are considering traditionally fuelled cars, as more than 1 in 3 (38%) admitted they have previously been nervous to buy a new car outright.

The research revealed that 1 in 2 (66%) motorists think leasing any car before purchasing the vehicle outright is a sensible idea as it would help them to be sure the car is right for them.

The research goes on to reveal the most important factors that UK drivers look for when purchasing a new car, including good fuel economy (65%), low maintenance costs (56%), and how enjoyable it is to drive (55%).

You can see the full results below.

Top 10 new car must-haves:

  1. Good fuel economy – 65%
  2. Low maintenance costs – 56%
  3. Enjoyable to drive – 55%
  4. Comfortable seats – 50%
  5. The size (ensuring it’s not too small) – 37%
  6. The size (ensuring it’s not too big) – 36%
  7. Good storage space – 35%
  8. Eco-friendliness – 33%
  9. Good legroom – 32%
  10. Good rear-view visibility – 30%

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