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41% of Brits would buy electric car but cost concerns put them off

Over 40% of British drivers would consider buying an electric/hybrid vehicle (EV) in the next five years, but cost and infrastructure worries are stopping them, according to a survey by international electrical supply distributors, Rexel, and pollster Censuswide.

The major concern was that an electric or hybrid would run out of energy before completing journeys, as 62% of respondents said a lack of charging stations make electric cars seem impractical over petrol and diesel cars. An alarming 72% of drivers said they have never even seen an EV charger.

There are more than 3,000 publicly accessible charge points in the UK, but 50% of those surveyed were concerned that they wouldn’t know where to charge their vehicle and 30% of Brits have no idea who they would go to for advice on EVs and how to charge them.

Another 60% of respondents were put off by the upfront cost of EVs. In January 2011, the government introduced the plug-in car grant, offering a 25% (up to £5,000) subsidy of the upfront cost of an electric vehicle; over a thousand cars eligible for the plug-in car grant registered last year. The government also introduced low-emissions tax exemptions and various tax reductions for electric car owners.

Brian Smithers, strategic development director for Rexel Northern European Zone, said the UK market would develop depending on “consumer awareness, acceptance and rising oil prices. Independent forecasts suggest that hundreds of thousands of plug-in vehicles could be on the road by 2020.”

Smithers continued: “The survey results highlight that more needs to be done to raise awareness amongst the British public and reassure them.”
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