Consumer interest in second-hand electric vehicles (EVs) rose by around a fifth last year, according to used car website AA Cars. The site’s data showed interest was up by 18.85 percent in 2020, despite prolonged coronavirus lockdowns and dealership closures, and even greater growth is expected in 2021.

AA Cars says consumers have become ever more interested in electric cars in recent years, with almost 50 times more searches on the website than there were in 2015. And searches during the first three months of 2021 were up 42 percent compared with the same period in 2020. The AA says that figure could swell further, given almost all those searches were conducted during the coronavirus lockdown period.

These trends reflect the new car market, with figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing sales of new EVs rose by more than 185 percent. In total, electric vehicles made up 6.6 percent of last year’s new car market, up from 1.6 percent in 2019.

Mitsubishi i-Miev charger plug

Unsurprisingly, the majority of searches for electric vehicles on the AA Cars site came from the UK’s big cities. london topped the list, with more than 55,000 searches for electric cars in the past two years. Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester followed on, with Liverpool rounding out the top five.

However, when AA Cars looked at searches compared with population size, the picture was somewhat different. Walsall, in the West Midlands, topped the list with 668 searches per 100,000 inhabitants, while the County Durham town of Stockton-on-Tees came second with 490 searches per 100,000 people.

2017 Nissan Leaf

“Interest in EVs and environmentally friendly vehicles has been growing at pace over recent years and has accelerated further still during the pandemic,” said James Fairclough, the CEO of AA Cars. “The good news for drivers taking their first steps towards buying an EV is that there is an ever-growing fleet of electric cars coming onto the second-hand market.

“It means there is more choice than ever before, and many affordable models available, with prices significantly lower than the cost of buying a brand new EV. Many second-hand EVs are nearly new, often driven by someone for a couple of years under a car finance agreement, meaning they will still be within the manufacturer’s warranty period.

“We know drivers still have some questions about used EVs. For peace of mind, we recommend drivers always look for a car with a full service history, as this will mean it will have had all its software updates, and regular inspections. It is also important to have a vehicle inspected before purchase, to ensure there are no hidden defects which could prove costly down the road.”