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Three-quarters of used EV buyers motivated by environmental factors

Environmental and sustainability considerations are the top driver for those buying used electric and hybrid cars, according to eBay Motors Group.

The company’s latest Consumer Insight Panel study found that 75% of those looking to buy an electric vehicle (EV) were doing so for environmental reasons, while a quarter were motivated by reduced running costs.

Only 10% of buyers admitted to having no interest in a dealer’s green credentials.

“With 90% of buyers saying car retailers need to take steps to improve their sustainability, dealers must ensure their sales staff are aware of the environmental credentials of the cars they are selling and be able to convey them to buyers, especially those taking their first tentative steps away from ICE-powered cars,” said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

“The research also identifies the need for dealers to adopt a greater consultative role, with 21% of buyers saying dealers are positioned to help them understand what impact purchasing an EV has compared to other changes they could make to their lifestyle.

“The ability of dealers to demonstrate they are taking proactive measures to address environmental and sustainability issues and communicate their actions online and in the showroom will resonate with buyers,” Kelleher added.

The reduction of carbon footprint emerged as the most compelling reason for 46% of buyers wanting an EV, and the dominant reason regardless of gender or age.

Reduced emissions accounted for 29% of buyers and is evenly split by gender, peaking at 37% of buyers aged 18-24 years old.

Cost savings accounted for 26% of consumers, appealing more to male buyers (27%) than female buyers (23%). It is also favoured by drivers aged over 25, rising to 31% for those aged 55-64.

Interest in used EVs on has grown fast over the past 12 months, with 14% of visitors to the site initially searching for electric cars during November compared to just 8% during November 2020.

Of the 2,000 in-market used car buyers who responded to the eBay Motors Group survey, nearly half (49%) expect their next vehicle to be electric or hybrid. The study found that this is primarily driven from petrol users, showing that diesel retains a role for those concerned about range.

Buyers were also asked to identify the most important steps dealers can take to prove they are improving their approach to sustainability.

Vehicle knowledge emerged as a key consideration with buyers expecting dealers to know the fuel economy (29%), emissions (24%) and lifespan (24%) of the vehicles they sell. 

Nearly one in two buyers (46%) said they were more likely to buy from or recommend a dealer taking active steps to improve their sustainability. This messaging was particularly strong among buyers aged 18-34.

Electric vehicle (EV) leasing company, DriveElectric, predicts that registrations of new electric vehicles (EVs) will rise by over 74% in 2022.

The figure is based on DriveElectric’s own forecasts and represents an increase to more than 330,000, from around 190,000 in 2021, to represent around 16% of all sales this year.

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