Electrified vehicle ‘knowledge gap’ is preventing many motorists from making switch, says research

More than half of Brits believe that their next car will be a hybrid one, but despite this 68 per cent of petrol and diesel drivers feel like they don’t have enough understanding about electrified vehicles to buy one.

A poll of 1,000 people conducted by Honda found that, on average, motorists took up to 13 months to contemplate the purchase of a hybrid vehicle before signing on the dotted line, while some 68 per cent cited a ‘knowledge gap’ as the main reason as to why they were being prevented from opting for an electric or hybrid vehicle over a conventional petrol or diesel option.

Thirty-three per cent of respondents to the survey who were already driving an electrified vehicle said that they were doing so because they liked to be ahead of friends and family when it came to cutting-edge technology.

In contrast, 57 per cent of petrol and diesel drivers favoured the familiar, stating that the purchase of a hybrid vehicle would represent a ‘leap in the dark’.

Eighty per cent of those who replied to the survey admitted that they were concerned about climate change, with hybrid drivers coming out as those who felt a strong sense of responsibility about the environment. Half of hybrid drivers also considered themselves to be an environmentalist, compared with 37 per cent of petrol and diesel motorists.

Honda has also teamed up Ivo Vlaev, a behavioural scientist at Warwick Business School, to explore the differences in motorists’ behaviour.

He said: “This research helps us understand why some people who are convinced of the benefits of a hybrid make the switch, whereas others do not. Some of us are generally more open to try new things than are others; or have a strong sense of identity as someone who is knowledgeable about cars and enjoys driving.

“Those characteristics of being open to try new things and cars being part of our sense of identity are associated with making the switch to a hybrid. Indeed, most current hybrid owners (61 per cent) say that they find joy in driving.”

Honda offers hybrid versions of both its Jazz supermini and CR-V SUV currently but has plans to electrify the entirety of its range by next year. Its upcoming HR-V and Civic models – due to enter the firm’s line-up shortly – will incorporate hybrid powertrains, too.