ZenAuto Says Searches for EVs Grew 172% in the UK

ZenAuto, a major car leasing firm in the United Kingdom, says that its research shows that between September last year and the start of this year, the number of motorists searching its website for electric vehicles (“EVs”) had soared by 172%. In the same period, similar searches on Google reached a five-year high.

The company reveals that this surge can be largely attributed to two major factors: the fuel shortages that hit the country last year, and the UN climate change summit (COP26), which was hosted in Glasgow towards the end of the year. According to poll conducted by ZenAuto, 19% of the 4,000 respondents admitted that the fuel shortage led them to be more enthusiastic about switching to an EV while 35% revealed that COP26 was the turning point for them with regard to opting to acquire an EV sooner than they had initially planned.

In terms of geographical distribution, motorists in Manchester (45%) expressed the highest degree of willingness to get an EV as a result of the climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow. London (44%) and Bristol (39%) drivers weren’t far behind in sharing this sentiment. The survey also revealed that the fuel crisis triggered a big change in drivers within Bristol (30%), Belfast (25%) and Sheffield (17%), with those drivers saying that they would buy an electric car sooner than earlier planned.

Vicky Kerridge, head of brand and consumer experience at ZenAuto, pointed out that even if COP26 and last year’s fuel shortages significantly modified the attitudes of motorists toward EVs, causing a sizeable number of these motorists to consider making the switch, there are some issues that are still holding back drivers from opting for electrified means of transport.

For example, the survey reported that a whopping 68% of all drivers who don’t currently own an electric vehicle revealed that the high cost of buying EVs was holding them back. One-half of this number asserted that the current EV prices would have to go down significantly before those motorists could even consider buying EVs within the next six months. This finding points to a real concern that may hold back the country from reaching its targets of taming greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector.

Another major stumbling block that the survey unearthed with regard to people’s reluctance to acquire an EV was the scant charging infrastructure. Almost 48% of survey respondents expressed a desire to see more charging points while another 38% said they would prefer free chargers to be installed at their residences.

It remains to be seen how quickly governments and other stakeholders can work to address these challenges standing in the way of EV penetration. EV makers such as Kandi Technologies Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KNDI) will also have to do their part to popularize electric vehicles as policymakers also perform their role in enabling the uptake of EVs to accelerate.

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