7.10.2011 Electric car trials spark national interest
New evidence suggests that the recent government-backed MINI E trials have generated a significant amount of consumer interest in environmentally friendly vehicles.
A popular motoring website, Autotrader.co.uk, revealed that there was a sudden 8% increase in searches for greener vehicles at the time of the trials, compared to the previous month.
The month-on-month rise in searches coincided with the announcement of the trial results which were published on August 4th – the trial was designed to monitor and assess real-world usage of electric cars. Auto Trader also reports that the MINI Cooper brand benefitted from its involvement in the trial, with searches for its popular hatchback up 14% in the same period.
138 motorists participated in the MINI E trial over two 6-month periods, revealing several benefits that could have led to the increased consumer interest in electric cars. These include:
* Average mileage per vehicle over six months was 3,226 miles
* Average cost to charge over six months was £60 (less than 2p per mile)
* Smart meters with night-time tariffs encouraged cheaper, greener night-time charging
* 90% of drivers thought that charging at home actually suited their daily routine
* 81% preferred to plug in the car rather than go to a fuel station
Ian MacDonald, Head of Consumer Marketing at Auto Trader said, "Environmentally friendly cars are gaining serious momentum with consumers because they're starting to show real benefits to the average motorist.
"The MINI E results are very encouraging because it shows that consumers can not only reduce running costs, but that they don't have to compromise on the motoring experience either. We can see that it has gone down well because motorists have gone straight to our website to see what options are available to them today."
Melanie Shufflebotham, Head of Marketing & Sales at Next Green Car also added, "Visitors to nextgreencar.com have grown by 10% over the last quarter, in part due to the rise in general interest in all things related to electric cars, in fact "electric cars" has become our no.1 search term."
These observations are an interesting example of how publicising the real-world benefits of electric cars can have a positive effect among consumers, suggesting that there is potentially a strong appetite for environmentally-friendly cars in general and electric cars in particular.
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