Fuel crisis causes surge in searches for EVs

Searches for electric vehicles (EVs) saw a massive spike over the past weekend, as the general public reacted to the current fuel crisis.

Car website Auto Trader saw a massive spike in searches for EVs over the weekend of the start of the latest fuel crisis, with searches on their site for new and used EVs rising by 28% and 61% respectively.

Auto Trader says that advert views for used EVs shot up by 61% between Friday and Sunday when compared to the previous weekend.

Car leasing comparison website, LeaseLoco, has also analysed searches made by consumers on its platform during September, with their data revealing a rocketing demand for EVs over the past week, with searches for electric car deals making up a third (33%) of all searches over the past seven days.

That equates to 13% more searches for EVs than petrol car deals, the next highest search volume. It is also a 5% increase in EV searches compared to the previous week, when EVs made up 28% of all deal searches.

Auto Trader’s top three most-viewed models were the Hyundai Ioniq 5 which saw a 40% increase in views (18,661), followed by the Ford Mustang Mach-E which increased by 12% (9,332), and the Mercedes EQA which saw a 21% increase in views (8,564).

Up until last weekend, throughout August EVs had made up only 16% of all new car advert views on the online marketplace.

For LeaseLoco, in September to date, 28% of all searches have been for electric car deals, with 23% for petrol deals. In August, EV searches made up a quarter (25%) of all searches, just behind petrol (26%).

John Wilmot, CEO of LeaseLoco, said: “The Government is assuring us that the fuel supply crisis will ease in a few days, but the general public is clearly sceptical judging by the lines of cars queuing at petrol stations across the country.

“The shortage of HGV drivers is unlikely to be resolved quickly, and car owners are understandably concerned that they could be left stranded if the pumps run dry. The impact on electric car demand has been immediate and searches for EV deals on our platform have gone through the roof.

“Green motoring is the future and the Government needs to do more to encourage car owners to early switch to electric. A fuel-supply crisis is not the ideal solution to encourage people to switch to greener motoring, but it may well make peoples’ minds up, particularly if this crisis drags on.”

Tom Leathes, CEO, Motorway, said: “While the fuel crisis isn’t yet impacting vehicle sales, as there is still phenomenal demand for used cars right now with prices continuing to soar, we may see some issues in terms of collection and deliveries in the short term until the crisis has been averted. People who want to buy and sell cars safely from home rely on the logistics industry to move these cars around – so if this lack of HGV drivers continues, it may start to impact car sales.

“What the crisis will definitely do however, is accelerate the journey from people questioning their current car ownership to going fully electric, particularly in London with the imminent expansion of the ULEZ next month. Those who have already made the jump to EVs are sitting smugly in front of their TVs watching the rest of the UK sit in their cars queuing for hours to get to the fuel pump.”

Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, said: “We are all familiar with the idea of range anxiety, but the events of the past few days mean we are entering the age of fuel anxiety. A result of which led to a massive surge in consumer engagement for electric cars on our marketplace over the weekend.

“Not only did the number of advert views for new and used models increase a record 28% and 61% respectively versus the previous weekend, but we also saw a huge uplift in the number of people sending enquiries to retailers, with one sent every two minutes. This suggests that people aren’t simply flirting with the idea of electric but have been encouraged to actively pursue a purchase. Accordingly, we expect retailers with electric stock to do particularly well this week.

“Concern about petrol availability won’t end when the pumps start up again, and so this increased interest represents a unique opportunity to inform, to excite and to incentivise car owners to make the switch. If the Government is serious about reaching its 2030 targets, then it is one it can ill afford to miss.” 

Image: Shutterstock

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