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British drivers reluctant to embrace electric vehicle technology

The number of electric cars on Britain’s roads may have shot up to more than 40,000 from just 3,500 two years ago, but a new survey has shown that only 3% of motorists are interested in buying one in the next five years.

Commissioned by insurance broker Adrian Flux, the survey found that despite the potential financial and environmental benefits of owning an electric car, and the increasing rollout of infrastructure, more than 73%  of the 1,784 motorists surveyed,  said that they were not planning to buy one.

These figures represent only a one percentage point rise in interest since a 2012 survey by the broker found that just 2% of motorists were considering switching to an electric car (with 28 per cent undecided).

Of those asked this time, nearly 19% gave range anxiety - a fear of running out of charge mid-journey - as the main roadblock to their purchase, while 35% said that they simply enjoyed driving traditional petrol and diesel cars too much to ever make the switch.

More than 22% cited the cost of new vehicles (despite the grant) as their main objection, with a further 7% raising concerns about the cost of replacing expensive batteries.

Some questioned the environmental benefit of electric cars, with one saying: “I’m concerned about the long term environmental effects of spent batteries,” with another adding: “I would be most interested if the electricity was produced from renewable sources… fossil-fuel-produced power is no better than using petrol.”

Gerry Bucke, general manager at Flux, said that the survey revealed that both a love of conventional cars and a reluctance to buy into a technology still in its infancy stood in the way of greater electric car uptake.

“Many of the people who took our survey said that they felt electric cars, or at least hybrids, would one day be commonplace on our roads, but most thought that there were still many hurdles for manufacturers to jump before that happened.

“Despite an increased number of charging points in the UK, many motorists still suffer from range anxiety, which is something which won’t disappear until chargers are as widespread as petrol stations, charging is as quick as filling up, and electric cars can offer similar ranges to current vehicles.”

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