electric charging Prius plug-in hybrid close up

Used car buyer interest in electric vehicles (EVs) has risen by about a third since May, according to research from the latest Startline Used Car Tracker.

Each month, the research asks consumers about their used car fuel preference and for September 23% opted for electric, up from 17% five months ago, when the question was first asked.

Asked the reasons why they would opt for an EV, 57% agreed with the statement “it is the future”, while 38% said “it is right for the environment.” However, only 4% believe that “electric vehicles are now affordable”.

Over the same May to September timeframe preference for petrol vehicles has declined, with a fall from 39% to 33%. Diesel and hybrid have remained consistent at 18% and 27%.

Among those who opted for petrol and diesel, trust in internal combustion engine technology appears to be a key factor, cited by 52%. Also, 38% agree that “electric vehicles are too expensive” to currently consider.

Paul Burgess, CEO at Startline Motor Finance, said: “We expect to see interest in EVs increase over time because it is the long-term direction in which the market is heading. However, it is interesting to see how consumer sentiment is shifting on an almost month-by-month basis in the Tracker.

“You can see a fairly rapid change in perceptions of both the cost of EVs and the technology behind them. How these are translating into actual used EV sales is difficult to say. Supply of these vehicles is even more constrained than the rest of the used car market and whatever EVs dealers can get hold of, they can sell.

“What our finding perhaps does suggest is that there is growing interest for the future and when used EV supply does start to improve, the demand should be there to support it.”