SMMT data shows petrol car purchases are rising with EVs

According to recent data, EV petrol car sales are still rising. Should authorities be concerned that drivers are less likely to adopt as costs rise?

What percentage of consumers are truly committed to sustainability? With current price rises for energy and the record highs of petrol and diesel, this begs the question as to whether it is a much stronger factor in making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) than the overarching emissions benefits. 

Currently, consumers are experiencing range anxiety more and EVs infrastructure is steadily expanding across the globe, but electrified vehicles are yet to be affordable to the masses. 

This is perhaps why, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, consumers are drawn to petrol over diesel, but not necessarily electric. 

In comparison with statistics from January, the number of petrol cars sold last month increased from 51,468 to 58,973—marking a 14.6% increase for the month. 14,433 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold in January 2022, compared to 17,294—a 19.8% increase. 

Another factor that governs consumers’ use of EVs is patience. In terms of buying a new car, the majority of people are not willing to wait up to eight months to get their hands on one.

Why are consumers still buying petrol-powered vehicles? 

In November 2022, it was confirmed that petrol vehicles were more cost-effective than their diesel counterparts. This is likely due to the discrepancies between fueling petrol cars and charging EVs, but consumers seemingly expect electrified models to be worth as direct replacements for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. 

Electrification has many moving parts, as can be expected during one of the most significant revolutions of the transport and automotive industries. The ability for consumers to adopt EVs hinges on education from businesses and governments as, currently, drivers are unaware of the benefits. This will pose further challenges as recession looms in the UK and the cost of living hits all households. 

As Sam Clarke, Chief Vehicle Officer at GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy Limited, explained at EV Magazine LIVE “that we’ve got a lot of misinformation”. 

“The latest transport strategy document suggests that we need 300,000 chargers. It’s all about the right chargers, at the right places, at the right times.” 

Many consumers are yet to grasp the concept of opportunity charging when looking into purchasing or leasing a new EV—or even a secondhand one. Despite energy prices rising, the ability to leverage systems like at-home charging, and adopt bidirectional vehicle-to-home solutions, will allow homeowners to make the most of their energy consumption. The only real concern among drivers is long trips and the ability to stop at suitable locations to recharge their batteries. 

Education will help drivers to switch to EVs

The notion of education is true as more organisations are able to share best practices to portray the true benefits of electrification. Organisations like GRIDSERVE allow drivers to get behind the wheel of a BEV, experience the charging process and learn how to best use the available infrastructure to power their vehicles. 

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