What is putting consumers off buying electric cars?

With an increasing amount of focus being placed on climate change and the environment, many campaign groups are hoping for a move towards greener vehicles, and in particular, for electric vehicles to completely replace petrol.

However, according to a recent study, only one in four British consumers would consider buying a fully electric car in the next five years.

The researchers at the Transport Research Laboratory asked motorists to drive three different cars, each for four days. The cars were:

  • Electric VW e-Golf hatchback
  • Plug-in hybrid VW Golf GTE hatchback
  • Standard internal combustion engine VW Golf hatchback GT Edition

So, what was it about these cars that was off-putting to consumers?

Some of the main issues the participants pointed out were:

  • For long trips, there weren’t enough charging points to be able to complete the journey
  • The high costs of the vehicles themselves, and of installing the charge points at home
  • Not enough space to fit the charge point at home easily

The results are a concern for environmental groups, as many had hoped for a swift move towards petrol free, low carbon vehicles in the very near future.

But, with some changes, it could still be a possibility.

For example, a substantial number of participants said that they would consider purchasing an electric vehicle if more charge points were installed.

Many also said that they would consider buying a plug-in hybrid model in the next five years instead, or would consider buying an electric car if it was going to be used as a second vehicle.

Groups are also calling for more subsidies on electric vehicles, as, according to the study, more than 85% of people said that the price of the car was either “very important” or “extremely important.

As well as this, 73% said that they would be “fairly likely” or “very likely” to buy a plug-in hybrid or electric car in the next five years if the purchase costs were reduced.

In response to this, Roads Minister, Jessie Norman, said: “We’re getting lots of electric cars coming onto the market and there’s more competition and that is starting to bring prices down. As that happens it’s better to spread the money over a wider group and encourage take-up that way and that’s what we’ve done.”

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