Around four in 10 Brits say they want to buy an electric or hybrid car when they replace their current vehicle, according to new research. A study by automotive data firm NTT Data found consumers are increasingly interested in more eco-friendly vehicles.

The company’s survey of 2,000 British consumers revealed 39 percent intend to purchase some form of electric or hybrid car when the time comes to replace their current car. And for high-income consumers, that number is even higher, with 58 percent of those earning more than £60,000 a year planning a hybrid or electric purchase.

However, for lower-income consumers, the tables are turned slightly. The survey found 34 percent of consumers earning less than £30,000 a year have the same inclination to choose a hybrid or electric vehicle. Nevertheless, assuming the respondents to the survey were representative of the UK public as a whole, that means around a third of lower-income consumers plan to go hybrid or electric.

Toyota Prius

Perhaps surprisingly, there was a noticeable difference in demand for electric vehicles between older and younger consumers. More than half (57 percent) of respondents aged over 55 said they plan to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle, compared with just 35 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds.

The survey also uncovered remarkable trends in the diesel car market, with almost two-thirds (64 percent) of diesel car drivers planning to switch to a hybrid or electric car when they change their vehicle. Just 13 percent of all 2,000 respondents said they planned to buy a diesel vehicle next time around.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI diesel badge

Nick Smith, the head of manufacturing, automotive and services at NTT DATA UK, said the survey revealed a shift in consumer attitudes. However, he noted the high price of electrified vehicles was preventing some consumers from making the switch.

“The results of this research confirm that the automotive industry is experiencing a shift in consumer preferences precipitated by social and product changes,” he said. “Consumers are changing their purchasing habits and understand the need, and benefits, of transitioning to electric vehicles. However, younger buyers are being locked out of purchasing electric vehicles, largely because of their expense.

“It’s clear that the automotive industry needs to consider how electric vehicles can be made more affordable for young buyers. There is growing demand for electric vehicles and dealerships must react accordingly. Introducing varied purchasing models is one option for enabling the industry to tap into this younger market, and may also convert current non-purchasers into potential buyers.”

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