Research for Kwik Fit reveals more drivers plan to switch to electric than in 2021

New data released today shows that the number of drivers planning to make the switch to electric has jumped in the last year. A study for Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, reveals that 42% of those planning to change their car expect their next vehicle to be a low emission model, either hybrid or fully electric vehicle (EV).

This is a significant increase from a year ago when 37% said they planned to switch to a hybrid or EV. In contrast, 34% of those planning to change their car said they will opt for a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) model next time, with 24% saying they don’t know. 

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The figures indicate that in the last year, approximately 800,000 additional drivers have decided that they will opt for a low emissions vehicle for their next car. These drivers will help increase plug-in vehicle registrations from the current figure of one in five new cars in the UK.  

However, there are still many motorists not yet ready to make the switch and Kwik Fit’s research reveals the biggest factors putting people off. The most common reason given is the rise in electricity costs, cited by 39% of those who are not considering switching to fully electric for their next car. (The research was carried out after the Government announced its emergency energy price cap)

After the rising cost of electricity, the reasons given most often by car owners for not switching to a full EV are the purchase cost compared to equivalent sized ICE alternatives, concerns over range on a single charge and the lack of fast charging points in the areas they commonly drive.

Young Drivers and Londoners Most Likely to Switch to EVs

Of those who are planning to change their car, younger drivers are more likely to be opting for low emissions. More than half (51%) of drivers aged 18-34 say their next car will either be a hybrid or EV, which is reassuring for the future, compared to 34% of those over 55. 

There is also gender bias with fewer women drivers (38%) saying they will opt for a low emission vehicle next compared to male motorists (45%).

There are also significant regional differences in the proportion of drivers planning to make the switch. London drivers are most likely to say their next car will be low emission, with 55% planning to switch to either electric or hybrid. 

The capital is followed by the South East and West Midlands, where 53% and 51% respectively say that their next car will be low emission. In contrast, only 30% of drivers in both the North East and East Midlands are planning to opt for an EV or hybrid, with 31% of those in the South West planning to do so.

Cost of Living Having Bigger Impact on ICE Drivers 

The cost of living crisis has led to many drivers using their cars less, however, this varies dramatically depending on the type of vehicle. Of those with an ICE car, 39% say they have decreased the use of their car, compared to the much lower figure of 23% for hybrid or EVs.

The cost of living crisis has had an impact on the motoring expenditure of more than two-thirds (68%) of drivers. After using their car less (36% of all drivers), the next most common consequence is owners saying that they have delayed changing their car and are keeping it for longer than originally planned, stated by one in five drivers (19%).  

In good news for road safety and emissions, as well as in reducing costs, 13% of drivers say they are driving more slowly to save on fuel.

In contrast to those keeping their car for longer, almost one in ten (9%) say they have swapped their car for a more economical model. The figures indicate that many have switched to EVs or hybrids, 27% of those currently driving low emission vehicles say that switching to a more economical model was driven by the cost of living crisis.

Some 8% of drivers say they have put off servicing their car to save money and while this will be of immediate benefit, it may be a false economy in the longer term. Regular servicing will not only help keep a car running efficiently and reduce fuel consumption but a full service history can also add to a car’s resale value.

Roger Griggs, Kwik Fit communications director, said: “It’s clear that after reaching a tipping point last year when for the first time, more people told us that they were going to buy electric than ICE, the trend has continued.  

“It’s understandable that the rise in electricity costs has caused concern among some drivers, but EVs remain much cheaper to run and the long-term direction of travel is clear. Industry and government must work together to ensure that drives have the confidence to make the switch.

“However, it’s obvious that the car parc of the UK will be a mix of ICE hybrid and EVs for many years to come, so it’s vital that drivers are supported in making sure their car runs as efficiently as possible, whatever type of fuel it uses.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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