According to the latest data from Auto Trader, the government’s decision to bring forward the ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to 2030 resulted in a huge spike in engagement of electric vehicles (EV) on its marketplace.

On 18 November, the day after the Prime Minister confirmed the move, advert views for new EVs increased 124%, whilst Auto Trader’s pay per click advertising for electric and hybrid cars recorded a 422% increase in impressions and a 636% increase in clicks, compared to the previous day. This significant surge in activity helped double the number of new EV leads sent to retailers, increasing 107% overnight.

In total, the number of new electric leads in November increased 421% year-on-year (YoY). Volkswagen and MG took the largest share of these and by some margin, receiving 34% and 27% respectively. They were followed by Kia (7%), Audi (6%), Nissan (6%) and Jaguar (3%).

Highlighting the growing consumer demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV), an onsite survey conducted last week revealed 16% of car buyers on Auto Trader are considering buying one, which is up from 13% in August. What’s more, the same study showed that the government’s decision directly resulted in 9% of on-site users considering an electric or hybrid as their next purchase.

Rate of demand growth for electric overtakes ICE

Utilising Auto Trader’s Market Insight analytics tool to look at the increasing appetite for new and used AFVs on a more granular level, demand (based on searches and advert views on Auto Trader) for EVs increased 93.1% YoY last month, whist demand for diesel plug-ins and petrol plug-ins grew 82.3% and 31.9% respectively. As highlighted by the research, ICE vehicles remain the preferred choice for the majority (80%) of car buyers, however last month the rate of demand growth for fossil fuelled cars was lower than their low emission counterparts: demand for petrol grew 0.2% YoY in November, whilst demand for diesel fell -6.7% YoY.

Commenting on the findings, Auto Trader’s commercial director, Ian Plummer, said: “The government’s plan is commendable; however, it’s also hugely ambitious. Whilst the data highlights a significant growth in EV demand, boosted by the Prime Minister’s announcement, albeit temporarily, conversion from consideration to purchase remains low, and a long way off from what’s necessary to achieve the 2030 target.

“Environmental concerns are increasing, but price remains the primary driver of adoption, and beyond much needed government incentives, the onus will be on retailers and manufacturers to make the switch from ICE feel more affordable. Bringing attractive and affordable finance options to the fore, as well as highlighting the benefits of EVs on the basis of their overall cost of ownership, will be essential in building both the appetite and trust of apprehensive car buyers. Most importantly, it will be key to unlocking valuable sales opportunities in a sector of the automotive market which is only set to grow.”