• Survey by charge point installer Smart Home Charge explored lockdown driving habits and attitudes.
  • Government scrappage scheme would encourage drivers to switch to an electric car.
  • 50.4% of survey respondents said they’d be more likely to buy a new or used EV in the next year if a Government scrappage scheme was introduced.
  • 97% said they had noticed positive effect on air quality during lockdown.
  • When asked what they were most likely to do to help improve local air quality, 66% said they would get an electric vehicle.

Over 50% of drivers said they would be more likely to buy a new or used electric vehicle in the next year if the Government introduced a scrappage scheme for petrol and diesel cars, according to a survey.

Rumours have been circulating that the Government is poised to announce a scrappage scheme to help the UK’s struggling automotive industry and encourage drivers to switch to zero-emission vehicles.

The survey*, carried out by nationwide EV charge point installer Smart Home Charge, found that 50.4% of drivers said they would either “definitely” or be “more likely” to buy a new or used EV within the next year if such a scrappage scheme was rolled out.

Just under 10% said the scheme would not encourage them to make the switch to an electric car and 7.3% said they would prefer to lease or rent an electric car rather than buy one.

Danny Morgan, editor at Smart Home Charge, said a scrappage scheme would give people the extra push they need to switch to an electric car:

“Our survey has shown that most people understand how petrol and diesel cars can negatively impact their local environment, particularly air quality. It also shows many people are willing to do something about it, including switching to an electric car.

“But buying any brand new or used car can be a significant investment, so a Government contribution in the form of a scrappage scheme to encourage electric car ownership would not only be a boost to the UK automotive industry but would also be a big step in helping this country achieve its net-zero carbon economy target by 2050.”

Noise and air quality

The survey also asked respondents how their local area had changed since and during lockdown.

Almost all respondents said they noticed less congestion and noise pollution (99.3% and 88.3% respectively), with 98.3% agreeing that electric cars would help reduce noise pollution if they replaced petrol or diesel vehicles.

When asked about air quality, 72.5% of respondents said this was “very important” to them and 97% said the lockdown has had a positive effect on local air quality, while a further 68.4% highlighted petrol/diesel vehicles and too many cars as having the most negative impact on local air quality.

Furthermore, 66% of respondents said they would get a fully electric car when asked what they would most likely do to help improve local air quality. Other options included walking or cycling more (14.4%), car sharing (2.1%), avoid driving into town (3.1%) and getting a plug-in hybrid (7.6%).

73.5% of respondents said their driving lifestyle had changed “dramatically” since lockdown began in March, but only 39.2% said this would continue after lockdown and 31.1% suggested their habits would revert to pre-lockdown behaviour.

Although, 26% of respondents said they would try to drive less often and another 19.2% would walk or cycle into town or to the shops.

Editor Danny Morgan added that the lockdown had given people the chance to see what zero-emissions vehicles could bring to their local area:

“Air quality and noise pollution have always been quite abstract things to discuss. We know we want less pollution, but we’ve never really experienced what it would be like in our towns and cities. Plus, driving is part of the fabric of everyday life, so we don’t always make the connection between the two.

“However, one positive from the lockdown has meant far fewer cars on the road and, for the first time in a long time, people have experienced the benefits of quieter roads and less pollution from car tailpipes.

“Clearly, electric cars won’t solve the congestion problems we have, but the knock-on effect has been people are more willing to consider a fully electric car because their priorities have changed – better air quality and less noise are both something to strive for and EVs can help with that.”