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Hybrid becomes most popular powertrain for future buyers

Toyota Prius hybrid

A quarter of UK drivers plan to buy a hybrid powered car next, according to new research from Close Brothers.

In its latest Britain Under the Bonnet report, the finance business found that the popularity of hybrids, like the Toyota Prius, has soared in the last 12 months.

The research found that one in five (22%) drivers intend to purchase a petrol vehicle – down from 37% last year. This comes as more car manufacturers announce their intentions to end production of petrol and diesel engine vehicles in line with the Government’s 2030 ban.

However, confusion over engine type sees one in seven (14%) still undecided about their next vehicle - rising to almost one in five (18%) for those aged over 55.

Seán Kemple, managing director of Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “The news headlines have been fuelled by manufacturers making bold claims about their plans for a greener future, with Jaguar Land Rover and Ford being just some of the latest cars makers to confirm the end of petrol and diesel models.

“Throw into the mix the Government’s ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars being brought forward to 2030, it’s no surprise motorists are turning away from these engine types, and as our research shows, opting for hybrid models instead.”

When it comes to electric cars, 13% said they will choose plug-in models, and 12% pure EV.

Since the Government reduced the plug-in grant earlier this month it is expected that some buyers may think twice before buying.

Stellantis boss Alison Jones told AM the change is making car buyers think again and those left considering and wondering are stalling their switch to an EV.

The PiCG has now reduced in value from £7,000 at its launch, to £2,500 following the most recent cut in support.

Jones also questioned Government’s earlier removal of plug-in hybrids (PHEV) from the PiCG scheme, describing the technology as “a great bridge to EVs, particularly in a one-car family”.

Diesel continues to decline in popularity with just 8% stating they’ll choose one next – down from 12% in 2020.

Kemple added: “While hybrids and AFVs are getting more popular, there are significant concerns that must be addressed for more motorists to opt to make the switch. We are still languishing in the tens of thousands of much needed electric car charging points – we need to get to 2 million to meet the ambitious 2030 goals.

“Coupled with the Government cutting grants for electric car buyers, the industry is at risk of not going in the right direction. We’re less than a decade away before the ban, so time really is of the essence.”

The research also looked at what features consumers want from their chosen vehicle. Price is the main driver across all vehicle types at 48%, followed by how economical it is to run at 47%, and the impact on the environment (40%).

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