A poll on the used car website in July 2020 asked “What is a hybrid car?” and gave three options: a) One that can use at least two means of propulsion; b) One that does NOT have an internal combustion engine; and c) One that can run on both petrol and diesel fuels. Of 1,190 respondents, 822 gave the correct answer, a – hybrid cars use two means of propulsion, a conventional engine and an electric motor. Worryingly though, almost one in three got the answer wrong, with 178 saying b and, staggeringly, 190 saying c.

Rod Joseph, director at DesperateSeller.co.uk, said: “It should be of huge concern to vehicle manufacturers, dealers and policymakers that such fundamental misconceptions are so widespread. After a decade on the market, the fact that 16% think hybrid means it can run both petrol and diesel is really quite astonishing, a devastating statistic. You can speculate about why – confusion around different hybrid technologies (HEV, PHEV, MHEV etc), the government lumping them in with petrol and diesel on the soon-to-be-banned list, the suspicion they’re merely a stopgap on the road to full electric, plus they’re not cheap. In the current ‘who knows?!’ economy, used buyers are minimising risk, hence the uplift in the sub-£10k category. The bottom line is that hybrid sales remain low and they’re in danger of becoming a white elephant – the Betamax of the transition to carbon-free motoring.”

Launched in 2001, DesperateSeller.co.uk is one of the UK’s leading car classifieds websites with around 300,000 used vehicles for sale at any one time. Still independently owned and run, it is part of the eBay Motors network.