Almost half of all drivers now want to switch to a zero-emission vehicle after experiencing improved air quality during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research by LeasePlan.
The research of 5,000 drivers across 22 countries, including 253 in the UK, found that improved air quality was experienced by many at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as a result more than two in five (42%) of UK respondents (47% globally) are much more likely to switch to an EV in the future to reduce their own carbon footprint.
Similarly, almost half (48%) of UK respondents (53% globally) say they are now taking climate change more seriously as a global threat.
However, there public perception of public transport is still damaged by Covid-19, with seven in 10 (70%) of UK drivers (65% globally) saying they are much less likely to use public transportation as a result of the pandemic and almost three quarters (72%; 76% globally) are more likely to use their own private car going forward.
Most respondents (79% in the UK and globally) say the pandemic has made them more aware of the safety and comfort of having their own vehicle.
As a result of the pandemic, UK respondents say they are more likely to use online shopping and opt for home delivery for essential products (44%) as well as discretionary spending (62%; 33% and 47% respectively, globally). bolstering demand for Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) and electric LCV (eLCV) delivery vehicles
Almost half of respondents (46% in the UK, 47% globally) are worried about increased congestion and pollution from delivery vehicles in a post-pandemic world.
Further data from LeasePlan shows that 75% of delivery drivers are willing to switch to EV light commercial vehicles and almost two thirds (61%) are also willing to share their LCVs with other businesses to reduce congestion.
Alfonso Martinez, LeasePlan UK managing director, said: “This report shows how significantly the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up our industry.
“On one hand, the safety of having a private vehicle lies at the heart of comfort and reassurance during these times, and on the other, drivers are more eco-conscious than ever.
“With this in mind, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the answer lies with electric vehicles.
“It’s therefore vital that decision makers globally respond to this heightened demand by investing in long-term EV incentives and charging infrastructure.
“Everyone should have the ability to go electric to match their desire to contribute to a greener recovery. It’s time to play your part in making the future of transport greener than ever.”
Mark Lovett, LeasePlan head of commercial vehicles, said that any retail company that wants to be successful in the “new normal” will require a fleet of LCVs to meet the booming demand for online shopping and last mile delivery.
Lovett said: “This demand has to be met responsibly, and concerns about congestion and pollution from delivery vehicles need to be addressed.
“The good news is that OEMs are making more electric delivery vehicles than ever before, so in 2021 there’s no excuse not to swap the white van for a green van and make each and every delivery zero-emission.”