It may come as a surprise to those who drive in the UK but a recent survey by Censuswide and Rexel has revealed that 41% of British drivers surveyed would consider the purchase of an electric vehicle or hybrid over the next five years. The survey also revealed a number of anomalies with regards to the public’s perception of the electric vehicle industry, which should give food for thought as we move forward with this new mode of transport.
This comes at a time when the UK government is under pressure to sell 1.7 million electric vehicles by 2020 and 6.3 million by 2030 if the country is to meet its carbon reduction targets. The government has already signed up to a scheme with the intention of reducing UK carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 - an ambitious target in the eyes of many people.
Range anxiety still a problem
It will produce come as no surprise to those who follow the EV industry that 62% of those surveyed confirmed that range anxiety is still a major problem in the minds of UK motorists. The fact that great progress has been made with regards to battery technology, with more to follow in the short to medium term, should help to allay these fears but there are concerns that the good news from industry is not getting out to UK motorists. It is vital that the industry opens a line of communication with potential EV buyers of the future to ensure there are no misunderstandings and all developments are made clear.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There is speculation of an air aluminium battery pack which could give electric vehicles journey capacity in excess of 1000 miles. Would this make a real difference for you?"
There are hopes that within the next five years or so we will see range anxiety become a thing of the past, with some battery technologies in the pipeline which could result in 500 mile journey capacity per full battery charge! This would dismantle one of the major hurdles in the minds of UK motorists looking at alternative modes of transport in the future.
Perhaps one of the more alarming trends to emerge from this survey is the fact that 72% of those questioned have never seen an EV charging station in the UK. Despite the fact there are in excess of 3,000 public charging stations available across the UK, and the government will be investing £400 million over the next two years, there is a definite lack of promotion of these facilities. The simple fact is, if you look hard enough the chances are there will be electric vehicle stations in your area and they may well be services which you have passed time and time again and assumed them to be parking ticket machines, etc.
It is vital that the authorities promote these services which will help to put the minds of potential EV buyers at rest and lead to an increase in sales.
While it may be no surprise to some to learn that 41% of UK drivers would consider an electric vehicle purchase within five years, it is alarming to find that 72% of drivers claim never to have seen an electric vehicle charging station. There are over 3,000 charging stations in the UK although sometimes they may be mistaken for other services such as car parking tickets, etc., which is certainly to the long-term detriment of the industry.
The sector needs to open up a clear line of communication, including the UK government and local authorities, with UK motorists to confirm exactly what is available and their plans for the future and allay many of the fears which appeared in this survey.