New survey: UK drivers have little interest in EVs

Why are EVs catching on faster in some regions than in others? Government incentives play a large role, as a May study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) detailed. The world’s top three EV hotspots, Norway, the Netherlands and California, are all places whose leaders have enacted strong pro-plug-in policies.

However, the ICCT report identified a few outliers, notably the UK, where EVs’ market share remains minuscule, despite a relatively high level of fiscal incentives. A recent UK government survey shed some light on this conundrum, finding that many Brits are suspicious of plug-ins, haven’t thought about owning one, and suffer from crippling range anxiety.

The survey of 962 British adults found that 56 percent of those questioned hadn’t thought about buying an electric vehicle. 14 percent said they had considered buying an EV but decided not to. Only one percent said they were thinking of buying one “quite soon.”

As other surveys have found, men were more likely to consider buying a plug-in than women, and those with a graduate degree or higher were more likely to have thought about buying a plug-in than those without a degree.

Among the reasons given for not buying an EV, a lack of charging infrastructure topped the list, with 40 percent of the votes. Range anxiety came in a close second, with 39 per cent saying they were worried about the distance they could travel on a charge. Sadly, 23 percent of respondents said nothing could ever convince them to buy an electric car.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that London has thus far achieved only 3% of Mayor Boris Johnson’s target of having 100,000 electric vehicles in the city by 2020. There are currently about 3,000 EVs on the road in Cool Britannia’s capital. The Mayor also wants to see 25,000 charging stations in London by 2015. Some 1,408 are in operation today.

Reporter Andrew Cryan said, “London should be an ideal place for electric vehicles to pick up as they don’t have to pay the congestion charge and the journeys tend to be quite short so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery.”

The Mayor’s Electric Vehicle Delivery Plan, announced in 2009, aims to make London the electric car capital of Europe by improving infrastructure and adding 1,000 EVs to the Greater London Authority fleet. Transport for London has decreed that all new taxis must be “zero-emissions-capable” by 2018. Electric buses and taxicabs are currently being tested in the capital.

Stephen Knight, Lib Dem member of the London Assembly, noted that only 57% of the city’s charging points were used in the first three months of this year, and said the money should have been spent elsewhere. “Investing in electric vehicles that the mayor can influence – the taxis, the minicabs, the buses – then that would provide the stimulus for everybody else to follow,” he said.

 

Sources: Department for Transport, Transport Evolved, BBC News, EV Fleet World
Image: communitiesuk/Flickr