Buyers not sold on electric cars

While manufacturers may be leading the charge when it comes to developing more-efficient electric and hybrid vehicles, a survey by a UK car search site has found the potential buyers of these cars may need more convincing.

A study of about 1000 car buying requests through UK car search site FindsYouCars.com found that less than 1% of its users opt for hybrid or electric models. Furthermore, 41% of Britons prefer diesel power, while 23% of those surveyed opted for petrol.

Although marketing manager Carlo Walther acknowledges that manufacturers are investing heavily in new, more economical models, the buying public needs to be educated first, he said.

“The majority of car buyers do not want to be early adopters and may sit back to see how the market develops before jumping on the eco band wagon,” Walther said.

“The motoring industry has a job to do to educate consumers about real benefits, such as cost of ownership whilst allaying fears surrounding the lack of infrastructure, performance and purchase price. If this does not happen, the future of low emission cars will take off to a very slow start.”

With environmental concerns not ruling British motorists’ buying decisions, Walther suggests the biggest drive in appealing to consumers will be the cost reductions that generally accompany the sale of these cars in international markets, such as free charging bays, exemption from certain taxes and possible government grants.

Of course, the announcement on Monday that the all-electric Nissan Leaf has been adjudged the European Car of the Year may help spur otherwise reluctant buyers to action.
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