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Boom in electric car sales expected

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

One in five (19 per cent) British motorists say they will switch to an electric car, and 24 per cent say they will switch to a hybrid car, in the next five years.

The figures come from Compare the Market’s Road Ahead research series which looks at the future of driving and equate to about 8.4 million motorists across the UK.

A further 41 per cent of respondents said that they would be switching to a more fuel-efficient car in the next three to five years, equating to 15.7 million drivers.

The primary reasons behind the change in behaviour include increasing environmental concerns and growing confidence in the development of the charging infrastructure for electric and hybrid cars.

Eight in 10 (83 per cent) of motorists said that the reason they would make the switch is to minimise their impact on the environment, and the same percentage said that they believe the infrastructure for electric and hybrid cars will improve significantly in the next few years.

In addition, two thirds (67 per cent) of motorists felt that traditional fuel cars are becoming less and less cost efficient.

The way in which people use cars is also expected to change significantly in the near future. Just over a third (34 per cent) of drivers said that they would be cutting down their driving time in favour of cycling and walking.

A further 28 per cent expect that they will only use their cars to drive long distances. However, it seems that most people do not expect to get rid of their cars entirely, with only 8 per cent of people saying that they plan to sell their car and not replace it.

Data from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) had a market share of 6 per cent in new car registrations in 2018.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at Compare the Market, said: “Our findings are a watershed moment in public opinion towards electric cars. The recent spate of high-profile climate change documentaries and summits has likely played a role in accelerating public opinion so decisively behind the electrification of motoring.

“The results of this poll vindicate the government’s decision to legislate to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. Ironically, their decision not to legislate for a ban sooner may prove to be too tardy for many motorists, with our data showing that concern for the environment is steering change among drivers. As electric cars shift from a niche purchase to a consumer mainstay, car manufacturers may well end up racing to catch-up with their increasingly green-minded customers.”