EU will not achieve electric car charging targets at current rate, auditor warns

Huge spike in demand for electric cars and bikes as fuel shortage crisis bites

Panic-buying electric cars next?

CAR SALES website Auto Trader has reported a “huge spike” in demand for electric cars in recent days, indicating that motorists may be panic-buying more than just petrol and diesel.

Searches for electric vehicles (EVs) on the cars sales website jumped by more than 60% on Saturday and Sunday amid long queues at petrol stations and widespread panic over fuel availability.

According to Auto Trader’s commercial director, Ian Plummer: “Not only did the number of advert views for new and used electric models increase a record 28% and 61% respectively versus the previous weekend, but we also saw a huge uplift in the number of people sending enquiries to retailers, with one sent every two minutes.

“This suggests that people aren’t simply flirting with the idea of electric but have been encouraged to actively pursue a purchase.”

He added: “The events of the last few days mean we are entering the age of fuel anxiety.”

Auto Trader’s two most searched-for electric models were the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

According to The Times, wider analysis of Google data showed that searches for electric cars jumped by more than 1,600% on Friday.

Retailer Halfords said that demand was “soaring” with bike orders rising some 23% last weekend (September 25-26) compared to the previous weekend; orders for electric bikes increased by 106%.

Demand for fuel cans, Halfords also said, skyrocketed by 1,656% reflecting reports from other retailers that petrol containers had sold out.

Motor sales comparison website, Carwow also reported an unprecedented number of searches for electric cars with searches rising by 28% on Friday, 43% on Saturday and 56% on Sunday, as reports emerged that not only was the fuel crisis not quickly resolving itself, but that the government was considering deploying the army to help deal with the problem.

Sepi Arani, Carwow’s director of trade, said: “After a weekend of queuing, frustration and hysteria, having the option to charge your vehicle from the comfort of your own home, or from a public charging point, seems like bliss for more and more people.

“We’ve also seen a huge spike – 94% compared to last week – of people researching EV ownership and reviewing our electric vehicles advice hub, researching the range of vehicles, finding out about home charging and searching for their local charging points.”

Plummer, however, is not convinced that the recent surge in interest will translate into mass EV adoption, and believes the government needs to do a lot more on the issue to meet its 2030 climate targets.

“Despite this boost in activity it’s unlikely to represent a major step towards the government’s Road to Zero ambitions,” he said. “That’s because electric cars are prohibitively expensive for the majority of people, and despite the significant increase in range performance among new models, capable of reaching around 250 miles on a single charge, concerns of an inadequate charging infrastructure remain.

“Concern about petrol availability won’t end when the pumps start up again, and so this increased interest represents a unique opportunity to inform, to excite and to incentivise car owners to make the switch.

“If the Government is serious about reaching its 2030 targets, then it is one it can ill afford to miss.”