mini electric
The Mini Electric recently debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Source: BMW

As ever, we must look to more mature overseas electric vehicle markets to see what direction the Australian car market may take during the early phases of the EV transition.

Recently released figures in the UK shows another interesting sign of the possible fall from favour of the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle in the car buyers’ mind.

This comes from the just released August UK Auto Trader Retail Price Index figures. These figures are collated using data from around 500,000 trade used car listings in the UK each day, plus dealer website and manufacturer, fleet and leasing disposal prices.

With such a wealth of data at their disposal, they produce the industry standard results for measuring trends and fluctuations in the UK used vehicle market.

So what did they find? Well, used diesel and petrol vehicle prices in the UK continued their trend by decreasing by -1.7% and -1.4% respectively as compared to August 2018.

Meanwhile, alternatively fuelled vehicles (mainly BEVs* and PHEVs*, plus the odd FCEV*) continued their upward trend, recording 5.7% year-on-year growth in August. Also in August, searches for used and ‘nearly used’ vehicles saw a 4% year-on-year increase.

Unpicking the data further showed that cars aged 10-15 years showed a price growth of 0.8% but younger used car values decreased.

So what could this mean for the sales of new petrol/diesel vs EVs? Putting this data together with the continuing fall in new UK ICE vehicle sales suggests that the flight from buying new ICE cars is continuing, with buyers preferring used to new replacement vehicles.

From there, it seems fair to speculate that UK car buyer expectations are that EV choices and availability are getting ever closer, prompting them to buy older temporary replacement vehicles than that suggested by the first half year Californian vehicle sales data.

By this I am suggesting a 10 – 15 year-old car will last at best 2 – 5 years, vs the trend in California for 6 year-old and newer second-hand vehicle sales going up as new car sales fall there.

Or, to put it more succinctly, are UK buyers expecting the time to getting their hands on a new EV to be even shorter than Californian car buyers??

The recent Frankfurt motor show in Europe certainly raised expectations for considerably increased EV availability over the next 6 – 12 months. Perhaps we could we call these figures ‘The Frankfurt Motor Show EV effect??

* Notes: BEV = Battery Electric Vehicle, PHEV = Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle, FCEV = Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, better known as a ‘hydrogen car’

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