Why it's time to think seriously about electric cars

Why it's time to think seriously about electric cars

Much scratching of heads and talk of chicken and eggs must surely follow the publication last week of the Government survey, Public attitudes to electric vehicles. They might as well have called the report Computer says no. Because, while the Department for Transport, Chargemaster, Tesla, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, Cenex, the Mayor of London, politicians and a billion other organisations work their backsides off to put in charging infrastructure, improve the life of batteries, build sexy hybrids and pure-electric supercars, give discounts off the purchase price, waive taxes, install home-charging for free, pour money into low-emissions R&D and so on, the public are resolutely sticking their fingers in the ears. Its seriously depressing.

The public reported that the most important factors putting them off buying an electric car or van were recharging (40 per cent), and the distance travelled on a battery (39 per cent) followed by cost (33 per cent) and lack of knowledge (16 per cent). Less than one per cent (0.3 per cent) of respondents already owned an electric car or van and only five per cent of respondents said that they were thinking about buying an electric car or van.

The most dispiriting finding of the DfT report though, is surely the 69 per cent of drivers, who when asked if they were thinking about buying an electric car or van, answered not yes or no, but I havent really thought about it. I find it as mystifying as agnostics: surely youve got to get off the fence on the big questions in life.

Dr Daniel Newman, a specialist in electric vehicles at Cardiff Universitys Sustainable Places Institute, commented on the report: These results show attitudes remain ambivalent despite the fact that electric vehicles have been around for decades. Just one in 20 people are thinking about buying an electric car or van, and only one in 100 actually intend to do so in the immediate future. While 14 per cent of those surveyed had considered the vehicles and decided against buying into the technology, over half of the sample simply hadnt even thought about it.

Those who have rejected the vehicles are put off by concerns over the batteries and cost... Others baulk at the hefty prices to buy one of these vehicles, which, despite government subsidies, are still higher than the equivalent petrol and diesel options. These doubts are familiar refrains that continue to hold back electric vehicles despite the efforts of government and investment made by the automotive sector.

Source: The Telegraph

SMART GRID Bulletin April 2017


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