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DfT survey on EV interest comes under fire

Released today (19th June) by the DfT, the survey found that only 5% of respondents said that they were thinking about buying an electric car or van, while 56% said that they had not thought about buying one with an additional 14% saying that they had thought about buying one and decided not to. Less than 1% (0.3%) of respondents already owned an electric car or van.

Drivers reported that the most important things they considered when buying a car or van were, cost (85%), reliability (78%), safety (66%) and comfort (53%).

Drivers also said that the most important factors putting them off buying an electric car or van were recharging (40%), and the distance travelled on a battery (39%) followed by cost (33%) and lack of knowledge (16%).

The survey also found that the most important factor that would encourage drivers to buy an electric car or van was cost (37%). Other factors included distance travelled on charge (20%), recharging (17%) and environmentally friendly (16%).

In response, car review site has highlighted its recent survey of 3,896 known Jaguar owners in which 12% said they would buy an all-electric Jaguar and 26% said they would seriously consider buying one.  

A spokesman said: ‘The car market has many different niches and this can’t be reflected in a survey of less than 700 car drivers surveyed by the DfT. We asked Jaguar owners specifically because they now have a choice to buy the US-made Tesla, an all-electric luxury car with a range of about 300 miles.’

The spokesman added: ‘Above all, our car review site highlights the fact that different motorists choose different cars to meet their needs which will always include consideration of cost, reliability and economy. The DoT asked a general question of a very small cross section of motorists, but the real progress in electric vehicles will come from car makers who target specific motoring niches with solutions which make sense to them, their lifestyle and the size of their wallet.’

However, Dr Daniel Newman, a specialist in electric vehicles at Cardiff University's Sustainable Places Institute, said: 'These results show attitudes remain ambivalent – despite the fact that electric vehicles have been around for decades. Those who have rejected the vehicles are put off by concerns over the batteries and cost. A large number display range anxiety, the fear of being stranded out of charge, as well as the relatively lengthy periods of recharging and doubts over how long they will last. Others baulk at the hefty prices to buy one of these vehicles, which, despite government subsidies, are still higher than the equivalent petrol and diesel options. These doubts are familiar refrains that continue to hold back electric vehicles despite the efforts of government and investment made by the automotive sector.'

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.

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