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Electric car revolution stalls


By Mark Stillman

A major new survey suggests that government incentives have failed to spark the anticipated electric car revolution.

Auto Trader's poll of over 3,000 drivers indicates that UK drivers are not embracing ministers' greener motoring mantra - with just one per cent of them owning an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV).

Underpinning this apathy is the survey's finding that Britons place CO2 emissions at the bottom of their new car shopping wishlist.

Ignorance is a factor

Only 39 per cent of men said they cared deeply about the effect their vehicles have on the environment, compared to 62 per cent of women.

Ignorance is also a factor. Drivers have qualified for a maximum £5,000 upfront cost relief on the purchase of a new electric vehicle since the start of 2011.

But the report found that 35 per cent of motorists were unaware of this incentive.

The survey also showed:

- 79 per cent of drivers agree the government should take more action to make AFVs more affordable

- 89 per cent would like their vehicle to be "greener" if it did not cost any more

- 80 per cent have not seen a charging point within five miles of their home, while 73 per cent want more charging points

'A long way from convincing motorists'

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.

Motorists lacking information

"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."

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