EV wars: How the used EV market is growing

Electric Car

The used car market is buoyant at the moment, and electric vehicles searches are increasing, but who’s looking to make the shift?

There’s huge impetus into electric vehicles, with almost daily news stories about further investment into the technology and surrounding infrastructure, but one area that hasn’t been mentioned as frequently is the used EV market. But the hunt for EVs is now filtering through as more vehicles bought new enter the market.

According to research conducted by online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk, which analysed almost 25,000 searches in June for electric vehicles on sale, there is now an uptick in interest. But that interest comes in different forms.

The research found differences in interest between what appear to be 'curiosity searches’ and serious interest in available cars.

The starkest illustration is an extraordinary level of interest in the MG ZS, a still rare electric vehicle from a traditional sports car brand, which in June saw that model top the chart for EVs that received the greatest total browsing time. A far cry from the traditional image of typical EV customers investigating a simpler vehicle for local trips such as shopping or school runs.

The difference between those who are still merely EV-curious and drivers who are genuinely motivated to investigate a battery electric vehicle is highlighted by the difference between online searches for electric offerings from specific car brands in general and those targeting a particular model.

For example, brand-only searches - such as ‘Mercedes electric’ - reflect the typical popularity of German cars in particular, with Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW taking the top three places and Audi coming in at number five.

But when motorists have a specific car in mind the manufacturer field suddenly broadens; Hyundai, Nissan, Renault and Peugeot take six of the top 10 slots - and only two German brands appear.

But, when the time spent browsing specific vehicles for sale is considered, Renault's small electric Kangoo van came in as the EV generating the third highest amount of interest in June.

And June saw car buyers spending more time visiting a rare listing for the MG ZS than any other electric car, even though many more users searched for a Nissan Leaf.

It’s also clear that manufacturers such as Hyundai have gained a major reputational advantage for electric vehicles, with sale listings for the Kona and Ioniq taking four of the top 10 most visited pages. However, Volkswagen has also made strides with its electric Golf, which secured the number two place for model-specific EV searches in June, beaten only by the long-established Nissan Leaf.

Christofer Lloyd, Editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: "One of the most interesting battles is over the top position in searches for a specific model on BuyaCar between the Nissan Leaf, which has had 10 years to secure its name in Britain, and Volkswagen's e-Golf, which now comes a close second.

"Between them, the Leaf and the e-Golf now feature in 44.8% of model-specific searches among the top 10 most searched for used electric vehicles.

"It’s also significant that we see different results when we take the time spent looking at a vehicle into account. This reveals that there is sufficient interest in electric vans for the Renault Kangoo to feature high in our measure of interest in specific EV models.

“There are several ways to measure interest in vehicles and this research is valuable in revealing the difference between curiosity about what might be available and more serious research. Using this measure we are able to say that there is very strong interest in the MG ZS, despite the car’s relative obscurity compared with famous names like the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe.

"In contrast, it seems that traditional brand image, particularly for the German makes that dominate our sales for cars with petrol and diesel engines, is most important to those customers who are merely curious about EVs and wonder what cars might be available from their favourite manufacturers.

"This suggests that the electric market may well begin to mirror the more traditional car market, when sufficient product from all makers becomes available."

The used car market is already buoyant and the more EVs that come into the fray will only add to this. And it’ll also mean more electrified vehicles driving into businesses requiring maintenance, which should help add revenue streams to the workshops they turn up at.