Electric cars – the answer to rising fuel prices?

February 8, 2011 | By | In News

For all the hype of electric cars saving the planet, the general public has not yet embraced them given fears over range and performance. At Motors.co.uk we believe that there is consumer demand, with rising searches based on fuel economy, CO2 emissions and hybrids. Whether electric cars are the answer technologically we are unsure, given the exciting promise of hydrogen cars and diesel cars with incredible efficiency. However, we are confident that consumers will continue to demand vehicles that can save them from the perils of ever rising fuel prices.

A new report suggests that by 2014, 300,000 electric cars will be on Britain’s roads. It is expected that over £7.2bn of electric cars will be sold in the next three years, providing a lifeline to manufacturers.

The findings from GfK Automotive, a leading research consultancy, forecasts that electric cars will account for one-in-twenty sales of cars in Britain.

It is estimated that a further 500,000 electric cars could be sold if manufacturers are able to overcome range anxiety. Seven in ten motorists have so called ‘range anxiety’ – concerns over the distances electric cars can travel. The same proportion are concerned over the limited availability of charging points, while half have reservations over the length of time taken to charge the vehicles.

Although the government is committed to subsidising electric transport with its ‘Plug-in car grant’ – a £5,000 contribution towards an electric car – the message has not yet reached the public. Two-thirds of people admit to being put off by the cost of the vehicles.

Mark Durham, automotive expert at GfK Automotive, said: “With so many people on the verge of going electric, the government, manufacturers and energy suppliers need to grasp the nettle and address peoples’ concerns. The government needs to better-communicate the plug-in car grant and the industry should address legitimate concerns over range anxiety. Doing both will spark a revolution, and give the British car industry a shot in the arm at a time when it is in need of some good news.”

So the ball is in the manufacturer’s court to produce cars that can deliver on electric’s promise. It will be interesting to watch the technological developments over the next three years as rising fuel prices force consumers to consider alternatives. Hydrogen and electric cars have promise, but manufacturers are also beginning to produce diesel powered cars with phenomenal ranges such as the Polo BlueMotion and Fiat 500 TwinAir.

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