Extinction Rebellion protests boost interest in electric cars

Interest in electric cars has risen by more than half in Britain since the start of the environmental campaigns in London.

Electric Nation EV Smart Charging TrialThe Extinction Rebellion environmental protests, the launch of the London ULEZ and the arrival of the Tesla Model 3 have all contributed to a peak in interest for electric cars in the UK.

In the 40-day period from the start of April, online traffic for EVs at car manufacturer and publisher websites was up 56 percent. This period included:

  • 8 April: launch of London ULEZ
  • 15 April: Extinction Rebellion protests
  • 1 May: Tesla Model 3 arrives in the UK

Research by automotive analysis company Sophus3 shows three distinct ‘spikes’ in interest for electric vehicles around these dates. Encouragingly, since the beginning of May, this growth in electric car interest has been maintained.

“It was both reassuring and exciting to see this surge in online traffic to EV websites from April,” said Scott Gairns, MD of Sophus3.

“We believe the combination of environmental campaigning, low-emission legislation and news of the Tesla Model 3’s arrival stimulated a new level of consumer interest in EVs.”

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He added that for EV sales to grow, confused consumers need both ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ to help them make a decision.

“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.”

The recent surge in EV interest should help turn around a decline in interest noted in the first quarter of 2019.

While visits to electric car pages grew 43 percent in Germany, 41 percent in Spain, 21 percent in Italy and three percent in France, they actually FELL six percent in the UK.

Early UK figures for April and May suggest that downward trend has now been reversed.

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Richard Aucockhttps://www.motoringresearch.com/
Richard is director at Motoring Research. He has been with us since 2001, and has been a motoring journalist even longer. He won the IMCO Motoring Writer of the Future Award in 1996 and the acclaimed Sir William Lyons Award in 1998. Both awards are run by the Guild of Motoring Writers and Richard is currently chairman of the world's largest organisation for automotive media professionals. Richard is also a juror for World Car Awards and the UK juror for the AUTOBEST awards.


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