Future of electric vehicles depends on used market, says Cox Automotive

Sales of electric vehicles may be significantly impacted without the support of the used-car market, according to forecasts from Cox Automotive.

Despite new electric vehicle registrations showing signs of growth, Cox believes that more action must be taken to increase electric vehicle adoption in the UK and to eliminate potential barriers to new customers.

A recent survey from Regit polled drivers on their concerns surrounding EV’s and it found that 92% are worried that the country’s charging infrastructure is not up to today’s demand. In addition, 69% said they are sceptical about whether the market will be able to cope with extra demand by 2030.

According to Cox Automotive, the key to allaying these fears and boosting EV adoption throughout the UK is the used market, where EV volumes and appetite are increasing as they become higher on the consumer choice list.

Cox Automotive states that earlier EV models are increasingly reaching the used market and they are retaining high residual values, offering strong profit margins for dealers and a more affordable, straightforward EV option for consumers. With more knowledge about used EVs and greater access to stock, Cox says the used market could become the proving ground that supports new EV sales.

It points to the consumer survey with Regit when explaining the criticality of the used market in the EV space. The survey shows apparent demand for EVs, with most motorists acknowledging that they will one day be driving electric, with one-quarter saying they will do so by 2025 and a further 45% by 2030. However, stumbling blocks remain, notably price (72%), range (66%), and charge times (61%).

Philip Nothard, Cox Automotive’s insight & strategy director, explained that an increased focus on the used EV market is needed as it rapidly matures. This could hold the key to increasing consumer adoption of EVs alternative-fuelled vehicles, further boosting the new market.

He said: “Used EVs are becoming available to buyers otherwise turned off by the expensive new vehicle list prices, high monthly finance payments, and mixed messaging surrounding brand-new models.

“Some earlier EV models have been on the road for a decade, so these are increasingly reaching the used market and benefit both dealers and customers alike. They retain high residual values, offer strong profit margins for dealers, and offer a more affordable, straightforward EV option for consumers.”

Regit’s latest EV consumer survey shows motorists are divided when it comes to whether or not they support the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, with 50.2% saying they’re for the ban and 49.2% against.

Nothard reiterated the role of the used market in making this happen: “The UK needs to make its position on EV crystal clear for consumers and lean on the used market to help give motorists their first EV experiences, driving wider adoption across the country, which, in time, will undoubtedly be reflected in an improved position for new EV sales as the country continues to build its EV infrastructure. Perhaps a government grant for buyers of used EVs could positively impact EV adoption sooner and benefit the manufacturers of new ones.

“Wholesale buyers can help by specifically seeking out EV stock and ensuring a reliable supply to consumers, promoting continuous EV uptake as well as reaping rewards commercially.”

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