Electric car demand to surge: 25% of UK car buyers expect to buy an AFV by 2024

    • Alex Buttle
    • 28th February 2018
    • 26% of UK car buyers expect to be purchasing an electric or hybrid car within six years, compared to just 4.2% of new cars sold being AFVs in 2017
    • Green credentials are the most significant reason for those looking to move away from fossil fuels, with 45% citing electric being ‘better for the environment’ as the main driver

     London, 27th February 2018 – More than a quarter of UK car buyers expect to be purchasing an alternatively fuelled car by 2024, according to a nationwide survey conducted by car buying comparison website Motorway.

    Motorway.co.uk polled 2,000 UK car owners, asking them about their next car purchase and views on electric cars. The survey revealed that of those planning to buy another car in the next six years, 26% expect to buy alternatively fuelled vehicle (an AFV), with 11% planning on electric and 15% going for a hybrid car.

    AFVs made up just 4.2% of sales in 2017 according to new car registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)*.

    These new figures from Motorway.co.uk therefore suggest a rapid increase in take-up of alternatively fuelled vehicles ahead.

    Age groups

    Motorway.co.uk looked at the car buying plans of motorists across different age groups. The data suggested differences in attitudes between older and younger car owners to electric and hybrid car ownership:

    Future fuel type purchases by age group

    13% of car owners aged 18-34 expect to buy an electric car next, compared to 10% of 35-54 year olds and 9% of respondents aged 55+.

    Meanwhile, as the range of hybrid options has grown, older demographics had a particular fondness for hybrid fuel types with 19% of 55-plus year old respondents saying they would buy a hybrid next, compared to 13% of those aged 18-34.

    Diesel vehicles continued their slide in popularity, with just over a quarter of respondents (26%) expecting to buy a diesel as their next car.

    Reasons for buying electric

    Of the respondents who said they expected to go electric in the next six years, 45% said it was because electric was better for the environment, showing that electric’s green credentials are the biggest driver. More than a third (34%) said they’re opting for an electric car because they’re cheaper to run, 28% said the more advanced technology attracted them and 18% said that a better driving experience was the main appeal.

    Reasons for buying an electric car

    Respondents who said they would stick with traditional fuel types for their next new car were asked why they were put off buying electric cars. More than half (52%) said that inadequate charging infrastructure, including not being able to charge a car at home, was stopping them from making the switch to electric.

    Over a third (35%) said that electric cars were still too expensive compared to fossil-fuelled options, and more than a quarter (27%) said they did not know enough about electric cars and the technology to make a decision.

    Reasons for not buying an electric car


    Comparing male and female drivers, a slightly higher percentage of females (27%) than males (26%) expect their next car (within the next six years) to be an AFV. While 12% of women expect their next car to be fully-electric, compared to just 10% of male car owners.

    Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website Motorway, comments:

    “Our survey clearly shows that UK public are getting ready to make the leap to electric cars en masse and that take-up may be much more rapid than many expect.

    “The soaring demand presents huge opportunities for the car industry, which is showing significant signs of stress while battling to roll out affordable AFVs fast enough. But it could also leave the Government with serious issues if it does not move fast enough to build the necessary charging and power infrastructure to handle the impact of electric cars**.

    “Our data shows people do not know enough about their options when it comes to electric cars. If industry and Government are keen to accelerate this switchover to electric, then clearly more needs to be done to educate UK car buyers.

    “With consumer confidence falling pre-Brexit and rising inflation eroding disposable income, many are worried electric cars are too expensive to own. In reality, studies have shown electric will be the cheapest of all fuel options to run in just a few years’ time^.

    “Aside from current consumer sentiment, the raw economics of electric car ownership in a few years time can be expected to speed up the switch away from fossil fuel cars faster than many industry commentators ever expected.”