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Sales of alternative fuel vehicles overtake diesel

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33,000 pure electric and hybrid cars were registered between April and June, compared with 29,900 diesels, according to The Department for Transport. Research from Close Brothers Motor Finance finds that pre lockdown, a third of drivers planned to buy a green vehicle next, while petrol and diesel were seeing a downward drop in popularity.

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s research included a telephone survey of over 200 UK car dealers and a consumer survey of over 2,000 UK drivers, weighted to be nationally representative. It found that once purchased, car buyers do not switch back, with 93% of AFV owners admitting they’d buy another one again, compared with just one in ten buyers who said they would opt for a diesel car next. Although petrol remains the most popular choice of fuel type, it continues to see a downward drop year on year, from 42% to 37% of drivers planning to buy another. With a fifth planning on buying a hybrid car, and one in ten opting for electric. Environmental concerns are the leading reason why people would opt for an AFV (28%), followed by cheaper running costs.

Seán Kemple, Managing Director at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented: “At the start of the year, it looked like the shift to AFVs would be one of the biggest trends for the motor industry in 2020. Ambitious targets set by the Government to achieve zero-emissions streets put the wheels in motion for a greener future. And the demand is clearly there too.

“But in recent months, the shift to electric has been deprioritised for car dealers as they were forced to shut down shop in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. While the sector is bouncing back, dealers are now focused on getting buyers the keys to their next car and adapting to a very different retail environment. But the coming months are also an opportunity for the industry to build back better, a part of which will be building back, but greener. As people are continuing to turn away from public transport and look for alternative ways to travel, the car market is seeing a boost. Coupled with growing environmental consciousness and a looming diesel ban, demand for AFVs is likely to continue rising, and dealers have a chance to capitalise on this. Government support will also be vital in shaping the recovery of the sector and develop infrastructure to facilitate the shift the electric.”

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