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Sophus3 analysis reveals surge in interest in EVs in April and May

Sophus3 – the car buyer data company – has revealed a surge of interest in electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK in April and May.

Scott Gairns, Sophus3, managing director

Scott Gairns, Sophus3, managing director

The uptake follows the combination of high-profile environmental campaigning, the introduction of London’s ULEZ and the arrival of a high-profile electric car, Sophus3 noted.

Sophus3 analyses visitor journeys on virtually all car brand and major automotive publisher websites. The 40-day period from the beginning of April that covered London’s ULEZ launch day (8 April), the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests (from 15 April) and the arrival of Tesla’s Model 3 into the UK (1 May) presented the company’s analysts with a positively shocking trend in consumer behaviour: online traffic to EVs was up 56% when compared to the 40 days before April.

The significant peak in online interest and research into electric vehicles registered over this time period indicates a direct impact on consumer behaviour towards EVs, stimulated by the environmental news agenda. All this against a worrying backdrop of falling interest in EVs in the first quarter of 2019 in the UK (-6% YoY) when compared to other major EU car markets such as Germany (+43% YoY) and Spain (+41% YoY).

Scott Gairns, managing director, Sophus3, said, “We saw a worrying drop in online interest in EVs in the UK in the first quarter of 2019, so it was both reassuring and exciting to see this surge in online traffic to EV websites from April. We believe that the combination of environmental campaigning, low-emission legislation and news of the Tesla 3’s arrival stimulated a new level of consumer interest in EVs.

“It is not enough for a car brand to launch a new EV alone, nor for new legislation to try and promote low-emission cars by penalising traditional petrol or diesel cars, because the consumer is still confused about owning an EV, or even who sells them and where to buy them. All of our analysis in recent years has pointed to EV sales requiring both ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ for the consumer as we closely monitor how the online car shopper behaves when researching cars.”

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.