UK may not be prepared for 2030 petrol and diesel car ban as consumer demand stalls

UK may not be prepared for 2030 petrol and diesel car ban as consumer demand stalls

11/13/2020

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The government is expected to imminently announce that a petrol and diesel car ban will be moved forward to 2030 in an aggressive approach to tackle climate change. However, experts warn that consumer demand “hasn’t increased” dramatically enough to make the switch.

They warn that for a 2030 date to work, the sale of electric cars needs to overtake traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) models by 2024.

However, current predictions say this will not happen to 2029 as many customers still refuse to purchase the new technology.

Ian Plummer, director of AutoTrader said: “In order to meet the government’s new ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, the sale of EVs must overtake the sale of traditional ICE cars by 2024.

“But on the current sales trajectory this won’t happen until 2029.

“It’s clear that electric vehicles need to be the preferred option to the masses and not just to those who are environmentalists, early adopters or the wealthy that can afford their high price tags, but that isn’t the case yet.

“Over the last six months, while supply levels of EVs have increased with the launch of several new models, consumer demand hasn’t increased at the same pace.

“In a world of so much unrest, consumers have stuck to what they know – particularly petrol cars.”

AutoTrader revealed that 77 percent of car buyers were now considering buying an electric car meaning interest in the new models is the highest it has ever been.

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Despite this, a total of 61 percent of buyers said that upfront costs were still the main barrier to mass adoption.

This was down to a persistent price gap between the two vehicle types with many electric cars up to 20 percent more expensive.

Extra 10 percent tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit could see drivers pay up to 30 percent more to secure an electric car compared to a traditional model.

More than half of motorists surveyed by AutoTrader were also concerned about charging their vehicles with many highlighting a lack of infrastructure across the UK.

Mr Plummer added: “When we asked car buyers what potential incentives would encourage them to buy an EV, 72 percent said no road tax and 61 percent said government grants to help with the cost of purchase.

“This suggests that the government’s reported plans to cut VAT and offer free parking could provide substantial help to convert those considering an EV to actually buying one, accelerating the current sales trajectory on the road to zero emissions.”

October has been a strong month for electric vehicles with 9,335 models leaving forecourts last month.

This was a 195.2 percent increase on the 3,162 cars which were sold in October 2019 in a massive boost.

In comparison, petrol models were down by 21 percent on last year’s sales figures with diesel cars down 38 percent.

Tom Clarke, Head of Electric Vehicle Strategy at LV General Insurance said it was “encouraging” more were making the switch but claimed that “more work needs to be done”.

He added: “We’re calling on the Government to follow France and Germany’s recent electric vehicle announcements and provide more fiscal incentives and nudges for electric vehicles to drive uptake.

“Based on our research, we support the motion to introduce different VAT rates for EVs, an initiative which has been suggested by the Behavioural Insights Team and Transport Research Laboratory in their report for [the] Department for Transport.”

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