Study suggests electric cars are now more desirable than diesel models.

More than a fifth of British motorists now say electricity is their preferred form of power for a car, according to new research.

A study of more than 7,200 drivers by electric motoring website DrivingElectric.com found that 22 percent of drivers said electric was their preferred power option. That’s more than double the number of people who said the same thing in a study of more than 13,000 people by DrivingElectric’s parent publication Auto Express two years ago.

Back in 2017, just 10 percent of respondents said they would like an electrically powered car, while 26 percent went for diesel power. In contrast, this year’s survey found the tables had turned, with electric proving more popular than diesel, which was only preferred by 19 percent of respondents.

2018 Hyundai Kona Electric pricing

Both fuel types, though, were preferred to hybrids, which combine petrol or diesel power with electric motors to improve efficiency. However, considering hybrids were preferred by 14 percent of drivers in 2017, a 16-percent result this year suggests support is growing slightly.

Nevertheless, DrivingElectric’s studies show petrol remains the most popular choice, with 37 percent of motorists opting for unleaded. That’s a noticeable reduction on the 43 percent seen in 2017, but it remains by far the most popular option.

Car refuelling at the petrol station

DrivingElectric says it is “closely tracking the views of committed electric vehicle (EV) owners and prospective buyers”, and has noticed a number of trends in the market. For example, the publication says its recent showcase, which saw motorists look at new EVs and discuss future buying plans, found that concerns surrounding comfort and practicality - especially load-carrying capacity - outweighed priorities such as fuel savings costs in the minds of many buyers.

The company also says that many buyers are looking to move straight to electric cars from conventional fuel types, rather than having a hybrid car in the meantime. It’s a statement that appears to be borne out by the most recent research, which showed interest in hybrids has hardly changed in two years.

Toyota Prius

Vicky Parrott, the associate editor of DrivingElectric.com, said EVs could soon overtake diesel to become the second most popular fuel type for new cars.

"This is a big moment for the EV market, with electric cars poised to become the second most popular type on the road,” she said. “We’re now seeing a breakthrough in the perceptions of electric vehicles, from a niche phenomenon to a genuinely mainstream choice.

Electric cars charging at British motorway service station in Devon UK

"This is perfectly illustrated by the strength of interest among a non-specialist audience surfaced by our sister publication, Auto Express, and how closely it mirrored the buying plans of those who travelled from all over Britain to meet our team and look at the latest EVs.

"The views of car-buyers are clearly maturing as electric vehicles become more common. This means that the original chief selling points of EVs, such as very low running costs, are now being tempered by more traditional considerations around practicality, style, infotainment and comfort."

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