Electric car market survey
December 6, 2013

According to a recent survey carried out by Auto Trader, approximately 79% of UK drivers believe that the government should be doing more to make electric and alternative fuel powered vehicles more affordable. An alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) is a car which doesn’t use a petrol or diesel-fuelled internal combustion engine as their sole form of propulsion.

There are several different types of AVFs available; There are hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, that use a combination of petrol and electric power to move the car. There are plug-in hybrids, like the Volvo V60 Plug-in, that allow the owner to charge the batteries at home, which means a far greater electric-only range. There are also range-extending hybrids, such as the Vauxhall Ampera, which use electric motors as their only form of propulsion, but have a small petrol/diesel engine to recharge the batteries when they are empty. There are also pure electric vehicles, like the Renault Zoe, which are powered only by batteries and electric motors.

 

The electric car survey results.

A survey by Auto Trader polled 3,000 motorists for it's latest Owner's Guide.

The group asked the motorists what their perceptions of the market were and what would tempt them to buy a green vehicle. The guide revealed that 74% of those polled believe the government should be doing more to publicise the benefits of alternatively-fuelled vehicles. Of the respondents, 87% were not surprised to find that electric car sales remain low owing to high costs and weak promotion. According to Auto Trader, cost is the main barrier to the increase of sales as 89% of those polled said they would have an environmentally friendly vehicle if they didn't have to pay extra. Although most of the vehicles qualify for a

Government grant of £5,000 towards the purchase price, most remain considerably more expensive than their more conventional rivals, even when that is taken into account. With 27% of those surveyed saying that purchase price is the most important consideration when buying a new car, many of the more expensive models are ruled out. A further 80% claimed there was no electric vehicle charging points within five miles of their homes. Manufacturers have admitted that the lack of charging points is 'directly impacting sales'.

 

Comments on the electric car survey.

Group Marketing Director at Auto Trader, Jonathan Williams commented, “‘The good news for car manufacturers as revealed in our Owners Guide 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 so it’s no wonder why on top of all of these factors a higher up front purchase price is too much of an ask.” He then added, “Therefore, despite a £400m investment and a further £500m 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.”

 

Minimal charging points coupled with the cost and relatively limited driving range of electric vehicles are the main reasons why motorists are reluctant about buying an electric car especially with all-electric autonomous vehicles close to becoming available however, with time, the technology should get better and cheaper, making AFVs a more viable alternative to petrol and diesel-engined vehicles.

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