The government’s decision to delay the ban of new internal combustion engine (ICE) car sales until 2035 has cooled the appetite to transition to electric vehicles (EVs) among in-market car buyers, according to research by eBay Motors Group

The latest Consumer Insight Panel study, conducted immediately after last week’s announcement and polling the views of 2,004 car buyers, found 40% currently searching, or planning to buy an electric vehicle within the next six months will now either delay purchasing, buy an ICE car instead or transition when forced to. 

This sentiment was most acutely felt by buyers aged under 45 (37%), rising to 41% for those between 18-24. 

Only 16% of all buyers planning to purchase an EV will continue to do so and 29% who were undecided before the announcement remain undecided. The survey also found a quarter of all buyers had no plans to transition to EVs regardless of the ban and will not be changing their minds when it comes to their next car purchase.

Overall, the move will change the purchasing behaviour of less than one in three (31%) car buyers. Despite that, most car buyers (61%) agreed that the adoption of EVs is an important part of the government’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with over half (55%) welcoming the revised date. 

“Our research reveals the negative impact the government’s announcement on moving the ICE ban from 2030 to 2035 is already having on in-market EV buyers, with two in five now unlikely to go ahead with their purchase and some even reverting back to petrol and diesel options,” said Lucy Tugby, Marketing Director of eBay Motors Group. 

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“Looking at wider trends, the research also highlights a decline in EV consideration among buyers both before and after the announcement, with the shifting date only having a limited impact on overall purchasing decisions. The shift to 2035 comes at a particularly challenging time for EV sales with retail demand cooling in the new market and used buyers hesitant over exposure to price drops. We worry that the change will add a further layer of uncertainty for buyers and dealers,” said Tugby.