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More than half of all Victorian motorists are no longer considering a traditional petrol combustion engine for their next car, according to new research.

The EastLink survey involved over 15,000 Victorian drivers and aimed to determine overall attitudes to self-driving and electric vehicles.

Around 46 per cent of those that were looking to buy a new vehicle within the next few years would still choose petrol, but that figure dropped to just 30 per cent within the next 10 years. On the flipside, electric vehicle support showed a rise from 23 per cent to over one third in the same time frame.

“EastLink’s survey shows that more than half of respondents are no longer considering a traditional petrol combustion engine for their next car,” EastLink spokesperson Doug Spencer-Roy said.

“That’s a massive change from traffic on our roads today, where the large majority of cars are powered by traditional petrol combustion engines.”

Respondents also indicated a definite interest in self-driving vehicles, but at this stage admitted they knew little or nothing about the technology.

Three-quarters of women surveyed said they had very little or no knowledge of self-driving vehicles, while 35 per cent of men responded similarly.

The report suggested that vehicles manufacturers and governments need to further increase awareness of the features and benefits of self-driving vehicles. In particular, it highlighted that awareness campaigns needed to consider the specific information needs of females in the future.

“The majority of respondents say they have very little or no knowledge of self-driving cars,” Mr Spencer-Roy said.

“With self-driving features such as lane keeping assistance and self-parking already available in the latest production cars from an increasing number of manufacturers and at lower price points, it’s clear that more and better information
needs to be provided to Victorian motorists.”

The report from EastLink is the first of its kind and is expected to be completed annually in coming years.

EastLink is working in partnership with VicRoads, the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), La Trobe University and RACV to identify opportunities to improve the compatibility between the latest self-driving car technologies and freeway infrastructure.

It is expected that hands-free driving on EastLink and other suitable freeways will be possible within the next few years (subject to legislative changes).

The full EastLink report can be read here.