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Electric Vehicles Sustainability Marketing

Will electric vehicle brands look to capitalize on Britain’s fuel shortage?


By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

September 29, 2021 | 4 min read

Petrol station queues, boarded-up pumps and limits on fill-ups. This week Britain has been gripped by a fuel crisis that has not only led to panic buying petrol, but also attempts to panic buy electric vehicles (EV).

Google searches for EV spike by 1,600%

Google searches for EV have spiked by 1,600%

Google search data showed a 1,600% surge in EV on Monday. Meanwhile, Auto Trader logged a 61% increase in interest for electric cars and Carwow saw a 59% uplift.

Britain’s fuel shortage has pushed the general public to seriously consider buying electric vehicles, which have long been the preserve of EV enthusiasts, according to Stephen Kenwright, co-founder of SEO agency Rise at Seven.

Prior to the petrol crisis Kenwright said Tesla and ‘Tesla shares’ were the dominant searches related to EV, receiving 450,000 and 670,000 searches per month respectively.

Since the crisis, Kenwright said searches for ‘electric vehicle’ is now the dominant trend.

“All of a sudden people who had no interest in the EV market are now searching EV and researching if they are affordable,” Kenwright said.

Previously EV brands have used technical and features-based SEO messaging to reach consumers already engaged with EV.

Kenwright advised brands hoping to capture this new demographic to use top funnel phrases.

“EV marketers now need to assume most people don’t know anything about EV and instead use very broad educational search topics and avoid going straight to purchase,” he said.

Elsewhere, Kenwright said there hasn’t been noticeable spikes in individual brands being searched as people don’t know which companies to narrow down.

Auto Trader’s search data from September 24-26 has, however, revealed Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, Mercedes-Benz EQA and MG’s MG5 were catapulted to its top four most-searched cars list.

Will EV brands look to capitalize on Britain’s fuel shortage?

Surely this is the perfect time for car companies to increase ad spend on its EV brands to anxiety-driven motorists?

However, Kinetic’s chief client officer Nicole Lonsdale said: “Many motor brands don’t want to be seen to capitalize on the petrol panic buying.”

Car companies have generally been increasing spend to support EV, she said, and the spend merely coincides with firms bringing out new models and the growing market trend toward sustainability.

Carwow's original equipment manager, Sepi Arani said: "EV sale strategies are at the top of every dealer and manufacturer's to-do list for 2022 and have been a key priority for some time."

Kenwright added that pandemic and Brexit-related car shortages have made car brands hesitant to invest in SEO. "There would be very little inputs on a dealer to shift these cars quicker than they can meet demand,” Kenwright said.

Arani, however said on Carwow's "live market data there are plenty of EVs out there which people can take receipt of in a matter of weeks with good stock EV sitting on forecourts across the UK."

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