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Four in 10 consumers plan electric vehicle purchase as market moves into high gear

Environmental concern is the top driver for purchasing an EV

20 August 2021

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are expected to boom in the coming 12 months, according to the latest EY Global Mobility Consumer Index (MCI).

The survey found that 41% of those looking to buy a car in the next year said they will be buying an EV – an increase of 11% on November’s MCI – and 77% of those who already own an EV said their next car purchase will also be an EV.

Of the survey’s 9,000 participants, 65% said that they would buy a car (EV or combustion engine) in the next 12 months, while half said they expect to buy a car, a 17% increase on the November findings.        




The survey also reveals that concern about the environment is the top reason for buying an EV, with 78% also stating that the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened awareness and concerns about environmental issues. Of those looking to buy an EV, 53% feel that it is their responsibility to reduce their personal environmental impact, and 54% feel that buying an EV is one way to achieve this.

Of the survey’s participants, 66% of all consumers said they are willing to pay a premium for an EV, increasing to 91% among those who are looking to buy an EV as their next car. However, cost of ownership emerges as the top detractor for those who do not plan to buy an EV (50%). 

While the EV market is set to accelerate, uncertainty around charging infrastructure looms, and features as a top three concern among those not looking to buy an EV (32%). Forty-seven percent of all respondents believe there are not enough charging points available for them to comfortably invest in an EV.   

Prospective EV buyers have similar concerns, with 38% stating that there are not enough charging points available. And for EV owners, charging locations (84%) and speed (78%) are cited as key concerns when it comes to charging.

While the MCI shows the number of journeys taken by consumers is expected to decline by 5% compared to pre-pandemic levels, traveling by public transport is least favoured among respondents (with uptake set to  decline by 11%), while the car emerges as the favoured mode of transport for consumers. Most respondents who own or intend to buy a car said that constant access to a personal car is important to them (56%), and that their safety and wellbeing is best served by a personal car (52%).

Additionally, while the survey shows non-work-related travel is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels, work travel is expected to decline by 14%, representing a significant shift toward remote working.

Commenting on the global data and Irish market comparison, Julia Ann Corkery director of strategy, transactions, government & infrastructure at EY Ireland said: “The findings of our global mobility report highlight growing consumer preference for electric transport at an international level – this is reassuring to see with sustainable transport infrastructures being one of many crucial contributors to more sustainable societies across the world.

“In terms of private cars purchased in 2021, while Ireland has seen some great growth in the adoption of alternative fuel types, other countries across Europe appear to be moving quicker. One of the front-runners in terms of EV adoption is Norway where at least one in every two vehicles purchased is a battery electric vehicle.”

To encourage and accelerate EV adoption in Ireland, Corkery argued for the rollout of national strategy with better charging infrastructure and the introduction of financial incentives such as price reductions and and trade-in schemes.

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