1-in-10 consumers to make their next car an EV, says Deloitte

Cars

Car buyer intention is shifting towards electric vehicles (EV), with more than one-in-ten (11%) of consumers now set to make their next vehicle electric, according to Deloitte.

Research conducted among 1,200 UK consumers as part of Deloitte’s latest Global Automotive Consumer Survey found that the proportion of driving-age consumers intending to buy and electric vehicle (EV) next had more than doubled from just 5% in 2018, and 6% in 2019.

At the same time, consumers intending to buy a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle has steadily declined, it found, with the latest survey finding that fewer than half (48%) would now buy and internal combustion engine (ICE) car.

This is a decline from 73% in 2018, and 63% in 2019, Deloitte said.

Car buyers are going to have to overcome range anxiety and concerns about the UK’s EV charging infrastructure to change their buying habits ahead of a 2035 ban on the sale of all non-EV cars, either way, following the expected announcement of the plans by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this afternoon (February 4).

Commenting on the findings of Deloitte’s latest Global Automotive Consumer Survey, Michael Woodward, UK automotive lead at Deloitte, said: “2020 will see an influx of new EV models enter the UK car market.

“At the same time, consumer anxiety around battery range is gradually improving as the underlying technology evolves and feasibility of driving electric realised.

“However, the current price of an EV, combined with the ability to charge one, could be holding back more consumers from making the switch to pure electric in the immediate term.

“For those consumers who aren’t yet ready, alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV), such as hybrid electric, tend to be preferred with over a third of consumers seeking this option as their next car.

“Whilst there is clearly still work to be done, these vehicles provide an initial step towards a fully electric future.”

EV adoption concerns

Deloitte’s research found that a third (33%) of consumers surveyed identified a lack of charging infrastructure as their main concern when considering the move to an EV.

Conversely, 45% of consumers identified lower emissions and operating costs of EVs as a top driver to make the changeover.

Woodward suggested that the “tipping point” in the adoption of EVs in the UK was “likely to be reached in 2021”.

He said: “At this point, the cost of ownership, a major consideration for consumers, is set to converge with EV sales and expected to take a significant share of the market.

“Meanwhile, company car tax rate changes this coming April could see demand for EVs hit an all-time high as tax rates are reduced to 0%.”

Among the other findings of Deloitte’s research was an indication that car buyers were becoming more open to the concept of buying a vehicle online.

A total of 40% of survey respondents expressed interest in moving to a digital purchasing experience for their next vehicle.

Woodward stated: “Looking further into the future, the way in which consumers are able to make their vehicle purchase could also become a key consideration for the uptake of EVs.

“Dealerships are already turning their attention to innovations that should replicate the buying experience consumers currently receive with other products.”

Autonomous car uncertainty

Uncertainty continues to surround the adoption of autonomous vehicles (AVs), however, with half of respondents believing that the technology will ‘not be safe’.

Deloitte said that two-thirds (66%) expressed specific concerns around cyber security, highlighting fears of hacking or risk to personal safety, while two-thirds of consumers also revealed concerns about sharing the roads with fully autonomous heavy goods vehicles and the same proportion (64%) revealing that high profile media reports of accidents involving AVs was responsible for part of this caution.

Technology looks to be a major barrier to the adoption of AVs.

Just over a third (34%) of respondents said that they trusted existing car manufacturers to develop AVs, down from 53% in 2017.

By comparison, 34% said they held the greatest trust in technology companies, up from just 17% in 2017.

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