Online car searches that specify “electric” as a fuel type have almost doubled in the last six months, iVendi is reporting.
In December, 32% of searches made by potential buyers using the motor retail technology specialist’s “natural language” technology included the term but by May, this had reached 61%.
Rob Severs, senior VP of product and insight at iVendi, said: “Relatively few of the natural language searches we see include a fuel preference but where they do, electric is now by far the most popular and has grown massively in recent months.
“Interestingly, while there is some correlation between the price of power and searches at some times, at others there is little or none. Searches increased markedly when electricity prices started to fall in March but kept rising when the electricity price cap was removed.”
Severs said the significance of the data should not be overstated but that it probably was a strong indication of growing interest in electric vehicles (EVs)
He said: “This doesn’t suggest, we believe, that interest in EVs has doubled but it does show that an increased number of people are considering the idea of electric power when they are looking for a new vehicle and including it in their search.
“It could also be that, at a time when petrol and diesel prices have generally been rising, consumers are also interested in looking at alternatives.
“Even if electricity has been much more expensive in recent times, it’s still noticeably cheaper to charge an EV at home than to fill up an ICE vehicle at the pumps.”
Severs added that long tail, natural language search phrases entered by customers – which are increasingly spoken as well as typed using a suitable device – were continually examined and updated by iVendi to ensure relevant results were delivered, and that considerable effort was being put into keeping pace with EV developments.
He said: “For example, we’ve worked hard to ensure that the words that our search engine recognises will closely match consumer use of the same language when it comes to phrases such as ‘long range’ and ‘medium range’ that are very much open to interpretation and the meaning of which is arguably very much in flux.”
iVendi’s natural language search is now used in more than half of instances where it is offered by dealers. The technology, which was introduced in 2021, allows customers to employ everyday phrases in place of traditional drop down menus. Currently, it is used to make more than 800,000 consumer searches every month.
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