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Government’s 2030 car sales ruling increases EV engagement

Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader

The Government’s decision to bring forward the ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to 2030 resulted in a spike in engagement of electric vehicles (EVs) on AutoTrader’s marketplace.

On November 18, a day after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the move, advert views for new EVs increased by 124%, whilst Auto Trader’s pay per click (PPC) advertising for electric and hybrid cars recorded a 422% increase in impressions and a 636% increase in clicks, compared to the previous day.

The surge in activity doubled the number of EV leads sent to retailers, increasing 107% overnight.

Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, said: “The Government’s plan is commendable; however, it’s also hugely ambitious.

"Whilst the data highlights a significant growth in EV demand, boosted by the Prime Minister’s announcement, albeit temporarily, conversion from consideration to purchase remains low, and a long way off from what’s necessary to achieve the 2030 target.”

In total, the number of new electric leads in November increased 421% year-on-year (YoY).

Volkswagen and MG took the largest share of these receiving 34% and 27% respectively. They were followed by Kia (7%), Audi (6%), Nissan (6%) and Jaguar (3%).

The findings mirror that of BuyaCar, that reported EV enquiries soared by 500% following the announcement.

An onsite survey by Auto Trader also highlighted the growing consumer demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which revealed 16% of car buyers on Auto Trader are considering buying one, up from 13% in August.

The study showed that the Government’s decision directly resulted in 9% of on-site users considering an electric or hybrid as their next purchase.

Auto Trader’s Market Insight analytics tool revealed that demand for EVs increased by 93.1% YoY last month, whist demand for diesel plug-ins and petrol plug-ins grew 82.3% and 31.9% respectively.

ICE vehicles remain the preferred choice for the majority (80%) of car buyers, however last month the rate of demand growth for fossil fuelled cars was lower than their low emission counterparts: demand for petrol grew 0.2% YoY in November, whilst demand for diesel fell -6.7% YoY.

Whilst levels of demand for electric has increased, so too are the levels of supply in the market, particularly nearly new and older segments, according to Market Insight.

The number of EVs under a year old on Auto Trader has doubled over the previous year, whilst supply of those aged over five years has more than doubled the levels of consumer demand (347% versus 166%).

Plummer said price remains the primary driver of EV adoption.

He said: “Environmental concerns are increasing, but price remains the primary driver of adoption, and beyond much needed government incentives, the onus will be on retailers and manufacturers to make the switch from ICE feel more affordable.

“Bringing attractive and affordable finance options to the fore, as well as highlighting the benefits of EVs based on their overall cost of ownership, will be essential in building both the appetite and trust of apprehensive car buyers.

"Most importantly, it will be key to unlocking valuable sales opportunities in a sector of the automotive market which is only set to grow.”  

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