Kia finds UK driving behaviours changing with a sway towards electrified vehicles due to cost of living crisis

A nationwide survey in the UK commissioned by Kia has identified that a significant proportion of UK motorists have changed their driving habits to save money as the cost-of-living crisis becomes more embedded. 

With the cost of fuel so high, and environmental factors at the forefront of many people’s minds, more UK drivers are considering switching to electrified and all-electric vehicles (EVs). The survey found 37 percent are now using their car less for short urban journeys and 37 percent have instead taken to walking or cycling where possible.

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With prices at the pumps and electricity prices rising at a rate not seen in decades, a third (33 percent) of drivers surveyed say they now pay more attention to where they can refuel/recharge their cars more affordably. In addition, 28 percent say they now make more effort to plan journeys, including time of travel and routes, to save fuel.

When behind the wheel, 31 percent of motorists say they are thinking more about their own driving style to increase efficiency and save money on fuel, accelerating less often and keeping to a lower speed. 

The survey found that a much higher proportion of younger drivers (54 percent of those aged between 18 to 24) have changed their driving style in this way, compared to just 26 percent of those aged between 55 and 64.

Impact on Social Interactions

The survey also highlighted how rising fuel costs are impacting how frequently drivers use their cars to visit family and friends. The survey found 25 percent of respondents have cut back on such journeys. The trend is highest among Londoners (35 percent), with those in Northern Ireland the least likely to say they have reduced this type of trip by car (11 percent).

Overall, 19 percent of those surveyed say they have cut their spending on non-essential items so they can continue using their car as normal. It also found there are wide regional variations, with 33 percent of Londoners having made cutbacks to keep driving, compared to 20 percent of Scots and just 10 percent of those based in the West Midlands.

While many car owners are changing how they drive, Kia’s survey has highlighted that over half (52 percent) still wished they knew more about how to adapt their driving style to further reduce their fuel or battery energy consumption. Younger drivers aged between 18 and 24 were particularly enthusiastic about this (86 percent), compared to just 38 percent of those aged over 65.

Kia EV6

The Lure of Electric

With the cost of fuel so high and environmental factors at the forefront of many people’s minds, more UK drivers are considering switching to an electrified vehicle. 

Of those with a petrol or diesel car, 52 percent of survey respondents said they were now either ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle when they next change their car. This is not only important for helping drivers to manage their budgets but for the planet and the transition to zero emissions driving. 

The survey also highlighted that Londoners were the keenest on electric or hybrid car ownership (56 percent), while those located in the East Midlands were least enthusiastic (38 percent).

Of those likely to change to an electric or hybrid vehicle, an equal number (42 percent) would choose a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle as those who would choose a battery electric vehicle, while eight percent reported no preference.

Sanka De Silva, Kia UK marketing director, said: “During these challenging times for many UK households, our survey highlights how drivers are changing their driving and wider purchasing habits to be more considered with their income.

“With the financial challenges tightening budgets, Kia can support UK customers to reduce some of this burden with a wide range of electrified products suitable for a wide range of customer needs, all offering excellent efficiency and low running costs, including zero emissions electric vehicles.”

Earlier this year as the UK saw fuel prices rocket, Auto Trader, the UK’s largest automotive online marketplace with 64 million monthly visits, saw a resurgence in consumer demand for electric vehicles (EVs) on its platform. The volume of enquiries for both new and used electric cars reached record levels back in March. 

At the time, Kia was setting the pace with its instantly iconic EV6, which was the most popular electric vehicle on the marketplace. It appeared in more buyer shortlists than any other brand and over twice as many as the similarly priced BMW 3 Series. 

At the time the EV6 was the most in-demand of any fuel type. Its equally iconic South Korean stablemate, the Hyundai IONIQ 5, was ranked the fourth most popular electric vehicle on Auto Trader.

To support customers’ transition to electrification, Kia Charge provides drivers of electric and plug-in vehicles with easy access to 69 percent of the UK public charging network, from 23 operators across the UK including bp pulse, Instavolt, PodPoint, Osprey, Shell Recharge and IONITY to name a few. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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