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Are we at a tipping point for Electric Vehicle demand?

Car leasing consumers more likely to go electric as EV demand accelerates

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Interest in leasing electric and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) has increased dramatically over the last 12 months, according to sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

During September 2019, there were 40,917 sales of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hybrids and mild hybrids. The figures are up 55% from September 2018.

However, while these purchase numbers are impressive, they potentially mask the underlying interest in electric vehicles amongst everyday car buyers.

According to Leasing.com, enquiries on alternatively fuelled cars are up 209% year on year. And in the critical month of September (when number plates changed from 19 to 69), the all-electric Tesla Model 3 became the fifth most popular vehicle amongst all their lease enquiries.

Tesla Model 3

According to Paul Harrison, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Leasing.com “Interest in alternatively fuelled vehicles accounted for 7% of all enquiries in the first half of the year. Average CO2 emissions across personal lease enquiries have fallen for three consecutive years, and our data shows we’re on course for a reduction in emissions this year too.”

Paul Harrison, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Leasing.com

The underlying surge in demand for electric vehicles is also noted in a recent survey by LeasePlan. The leasing company found that 40% of consumers would choose an EV if looking to lease a car in the next 5-years.

Pent-up demand for EVs

Both LeasePlan’s and Leasing.com’s figures are at odds with the actual number of alternatively fuelled cars sold in September;  7.5% according to the SMMT. The discrepancy can be explained by consumers considering an EV as part of their buying-mix, but reverting to a petrol or diesel car when the actual purchase is made. It also suggests a pent-up demand for EVs that will be unleashed once concerns over range anxiety and availability of charging stations are addressed.

In the meantime, diesel and petrol cars continue to dominate the top-10 Leasing.com enquiries. Overall in September, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class was the most popular personal lease car, followed by the Range Rover Evoque.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the most in-demand vehicle in September according to Leasing.com

Top 10 personal lease enquiries for September, according to Leasing.com

  1. Mercedes-Benz  A-Class
  2. Range Rover Evoque
  3. Volkswagen Golf
  4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  5. Tesla Model 3
  6. BMW 2 Series
  7. Volkswagen Tiguan
  8. Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
  9. Nissan Qashqai
  10. Seat Leon