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18 October 2018

Fifth of UK drivers ‘will switch to electric’ for next car

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
More than a fifth of UK drivers are planning to switch to an alternative-fuelled vehicle for their next purchase, according to new research.

AA Cars says 22% of respondents to its Populus poll of more than 20,000 drivers will go for electric or hybrid vehicles – a massive jump from the 2% who currently drive an ‘eco-friendly’ car.

AA Cars, which is the used car arm of the AA motoring organisation, has seen a 470% increase in people searching for used hybrid and electric vehicles on its website since 2014.

Fewer than one in eight (12%) drivers think their next car will be diesel – and over half (56%) say confusing government policy is to blame for this, with 58% suggesting that negative media coverage has also played a part.

The overwhelming majority of diesel vehicle owners (92%) insist that the government must provide more certainty on the future of diesel cars – however, 24% “mistakenly believe that new diesel cars are as harmful to the environment as older ones”, the survey reports.

“Drivers are clearly crying out for a sense of clarity on diesel cars,” says AA Cars CEO James Fairclough. “A fair voice would help to demonstrate that modern diesels can be clean and fuel-efficient but also bolster the place of green vehicles in the car industry - this isn’t a zero-sum game.”

In a separate move, Stuart Thomas, director of fleet and SME services at the AA, says that the UK government’s decision to scrap hybrid vehicle grants and reduce electric vehicle subsidies by £1,000 “is not only wholly at odds with its desire to end petrol and diesel car sales, but it will also add additional pressure to an already over-burdened and disillusioned fleet sector”.

The organisation has called on policy makers “to consider alternative forms of financial support for the sector as it moves over to an alternatively-fuelled future”.

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