Only one in four people would consider buying a fully electric car in the next five years, according to one of the most comprehensive studies into UK consumers and pure electric vehicles.
As part of the research by the Transport Research Laboratory, which is owned by a not-for-profit foundation overseen by firms in the transport industry, British motorists were asked to drive three cars for four days apiece.
Cars including in the study included an electric VW e-Golf hatchback, a plug-in hybrid VW Golf GTE and an internal combustion engine VW Golf GT.
Range was one of the most limiting factors of electric vehicles for the consumers who took part.
Analysis showed that a range of 200 miles was needed for half of the participants to consider owning a fully electric car.
Increasing the range to 300 miles meant 90 per cent would consider electric.
Around half of the participants indicated they were likely to choose a plug-in hybrid as a main or second household car in the next five years.
The same quantity would consider a fully electric car as a second vehicle.
Dr George Beard from the Transport Research Laboratory said: “Key barriers to adoption of electric vehicles include the electric range.
“The range needs to be long enough to give consumers confidence that the vehicle can meet their needs.
“The upfront purchase cost, and the availability of charging infrastructure so they can charge where and when they need, were also factors.”
Electric car sales
Sales of pure electric cars rose to 1,517 in April 2019, an increase of 588 on the same month last year, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The government is legally bound to reduce CO2 emissions in 2050 by 80 per cent compared with levels in 1990, and it sees reducing vehicle emissions as a critical part of achieving this.
As part of its clean air strategy, the government has pledged to end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.
Roads Minister Jessie Norman said: “We’re getting lots of electric cars coming onto the market and there’s more competition and that is starting to bring prices down.”
“As that happens it’s better to spread the money over a wider group and encourage take-up that way and that’s what we’ve done.”
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