Used electric cars are now selling faster than their petrol-powered alternatives for the first time, according to one online car marketplace. Auto Trader says the average used electric vehicle (EV) is currently taking 26 days to sell, compared with 28 days for the average used petrol vehicle.

That isn’t just the first time EVs have sold faster than petrol-powered alternatives, but it marks a 41-percent reduction in the time EVs spend on dealer forecourts compared with January. Back at the beginning of the year, the average used EV took 44 days to sell.

On a more granular level, 2017 Nissan Leafs are the fastest-selling used electric cars in the UK, taking an average of just 20 days to find a buyer. In second place is the 2016 Renault Zoe, which takes an average of 23 days to sell, while nearly-new (2021) examples of the Tesla Model 3 take an average of 27 days to shift.

2017 Nissan LEAF

According to Auto Trader, the acceleration in sales times is down to “massive growth” in consumer demand for electric cars. That’s backed up by the 122.6-percent increase in the number of searches for electric cars on the Auto Trader website compared with 12 months ago.

That said, electric cars still represent a tiny proportion of the overall used car market, and Auto Trader says only a small proportion of those searching for EVs are serious about making the switch. In fact, the company says a mere 25 percent of “EV considerers” account for 79 percent of all the EVs looked at.

The company suggests that reluctance to commit to an electric car could be down to the “significant price disparity” between used electric vehicles and their petrol- or diesel-powered peers. The firm claims the average sticker price of a ‘nearly new’ EV (under 12 months old) is currently 47 percent more expensive than its petrol or diesel equivalent, whilst a one-year-old EV is 40 percent more expensive than an internal combustion-powered car.

“The acceleration in the speed of sale of used electric vehicles reflects a significant increase in consumer demand this year, which has been driven by a myriad of factors, not least rising fuel costs,” said Auto Trader’s director of commercial products, Karolina Edwards-Smajda. “The used electric market will play an important role in driving mass adoption and reaching the government’s 2030 targets, however, as it stands, the ‘green premium’ for buying a new or used EV means they remain out of reach for the vast majority of car buyers.

“If the government is serious in its ambition, it will need to do a lot more to make EVs financially accessible to more than just the most affluent; it would do well to take the lead from other European markets which are applying a smarter approach to incentives and a more comprehensive set of enabling policies.”

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