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Drivers unmoved by electric cars

Thu, 28 Nov 2013

SUPPORT for electric cars appears to be failing to spark off real interest from drivers, according to a survey of more than 3,000 motorists.

Only 1% of UK drivers own an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV), while CO2 emissions are at the bottom of the checklist when Britons are shopping for a new car, the poll by Auto Trader found.

Since January 2011, motorists have been eligible for up to £5,000 upfront cost relief on the purchase of a new electric vehicle but the survey showed that 35% of drivers were unaware of this grant.

While 32% of 17 to 24-year-olds said they were likely to buy an AFV, only 18% of those aged 65 or over were likely to. The survey also showed that while 62% of women said they cared deeply about the impact their cars had on the environment, only 39% of men did.

The poll also found:

:: 79% of motorists agree the Government should be doing more to make AFVs more affordable

:: 89% would like their vehicle to be more environmentally friendly if it did not cost any extra

:: 80% have not seen a charging point within five miles of their home and 73% want more charging points

:: 73% said national TV campaigns would help spread the word about AFVs, while 52% said AFVs should be a compulsory section in the driving theory test

Auto Trader group marketing director Jonathan Williams said: "The good news for car manufacturers is British motorists are taking an interest in electric vehicles - when made aware of the benefits and cost savings. However, we're still a long way from convincing motorists to make the switch.

"Put simply, going green is not currently an attractive package. UK motorists are being asked to make huge compromises on aesthetics, investment of their time finding and charging their vehicle. It's no wonder why, on top of all of these factors, a higher upfront purchase price is too much of an ask.

"Therefore, despite a £400 million investment and a further £500 million on its way in 2015 from the Government, motorists are still lacking information on costs, efficiency and effectiveness of owning electric vehicles - and, simply, choice. Clearly not enough is being done to incentivise both manufacturers and consumers."

By Peter Woodman, Press Association