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  • May 16, 2022
  • 2 Minutes

Electric cars preferred to walking or cycling as people consider greener travel

The switch to sustainable transport really has the nation talking as people continue to look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

And new research from our data insights team has found that Brits are more interested in driving electric cars than walking or cycling to improve air quality.

We found that 41% of the population believe greater accessibility to electric cars is the best way to make transport greener in this country – more preferable than incentivising walking or cycling (37%), incentivising shared vehicles (17%) or accessibility to e-scooters and shared bikes (13%).

Our study also revealed that almost half of us (49%) are open to the idea of buying a used EV – even though this sector of the market is still in its infancy.

What are the government doing to help people make the switch?

The Department for Transport recently announced a planned £1.6 billion investment to improve the public charging network, with its EV Infrastructure Strategy outlining plans to support the UK reach 300,000 public EV charging points by 2030.

Whilst the popularity of electric cars is set against a backdrop of just 26% feeling optimistic about the UK cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, there is a generational disparity in attitudes towards this issue.

Our data insights team found that despite just 14% of people aged 65 to 74 feeling optimistic about green transport schemes, the reverse is true with younger age groups.

A considerable 38% of Gen Z and Millennial respondents, people typically most aligned with sustainable initiatives, feel optimistic that the government’s plans for cleaner transport will improve air quality for future generations and positively impact climate change.

What other trends did the study uncover?

As the automotive sector evolves into a greener, more digital age, innovative approaches to sustainable transport are gaining traction.

For example, our research showed that more than a third of people (37%) are in favour of shared mobility, which is the shared use of a vehicle on an as-needed basis.

Interestingly, favourability for shared mobility decreases with age, with people aged 18 to 34 significantly more in favour of this model than any other age group.

Sticking with the generational theme, our study also found that 59% of Gen Z and Millennials found the concept of ordering a new car from their smartphone to their front door appealing.

What do the experts say?

Becky Whitmore, our Senior EV Product Owner, explained that it’s encouraging to see younger generations driving the move towards greener transport.

She said: “The transition to electric is already at full throttle and I believe the government’s recent proposals for more than half of all new cars sold in the UK to be fully electric by 2028 is a really positive step.

“The conversation around green travel really has the nation talking, but it’s also sparked a gearshift in people’s lifestyle choices.

“What’s pleasing for me is that so many young people are on board with sustainable initiatives, as these are the consumers who will be helping to create a greener planet for generations to come. I think it’s great that Gen Z and Millennial drivers are so open to new models of mobility and long may their receptiveness to innovation continue.”

For more information on electric vehicles, visit our dedicated EV hub here.

*The data for this study was collected in March 2022 and comprises responses from 2,032 British respondents.

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