Electric cars have failed to convince consumers

Only 1 per cent of new car buyers would consider going electric

Only 1 per cent of people looking for new cars would consider an electric one and only 13 per cent are interested in a hybrid, according to a survey.

Environmental concerns ranked low among the considerations of the 500 UK drivers who want to buy a new car for personal use within the next 12 months questioned by PwC, with only 15 per cent believing that driving less is a realistic resolution for the future and 63 per cent saying that avoiding larger vehicles, like SUVs, is not an option.

However, the design of more cost-effective engines is becoming increasingly important for car buyers with more than 80 per cent believing it should be seen as the principal task of car manufacturers in the future.

Phil Harrold, partner in the automotive practice at PwC, said: “Customers expect manufacturers to shoulder the burden of ensuring their next car has minimal impact on the environment, but they remain less likely to opt for hybrids or electric cars themselves.

“The demands and preferences of the drivers clearly highlight the dilemma faced by car manufacturers. Customers are conservative when it comes to their choice of car, yet expect innovation from manufacturers to help protect the climate. The challenge facing manufacturers is to change the primary concern in buyers' minds from cost to conservation."

According to the survey, the 62 per cent still want a conventional petrol or diesel engine, but they also expect at least 40 miles per gallon fuel consumption.

“The results show that the responsibility for climate protection is being delegated to the manufacturers. When it comes to the crunch, most purchasers view the design as more important than good emission values,” said Harold.

The survey also found that while 93 per cent of customers use the Internet to research their next car purchase, financing and the actual purchase do not take place online. Finding the best car dealer (77 per cent) and configuring their own car (60 per cent) online is popular with car buyers.

“Manufacturers and car dealers need to continually develop their online presence. Car dealers in particular should be prepared to deal with well-informed customers and therefore must have an offer ready to meet their usually very specific demands,” said Harold.

“When buying a car, a third of all customers are looking for a one-stop service that offers them support from the consultation phase via financing to the actual purchase of the vehicle.”

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