23.9.2011 New survey predicts slow uptake of EVs
Automotive researcher Trend Tracker's new Car Buyer Brand Perceptions 2011 study, of a nationally representative sample of 12,000 motorists, tracks the criteria on which buyers choose individual brands, and the size, type and cost of car they intend to buy next.
Among the criteria investigated are carbon emissions, and the type of engine consumers' next car is likely to have. The results may be at least modestly encouraging for manufacturers offering lower-emissions cars to comply with mandatory EU targets, but less so for electric cars.
42% of motorists interviewed face-to-face in their homes for Trend Tracker by Lake Research said they wanted to choose a car that would reduce their personal emissions. 16% agreed strongly with this proposition, while 25% neither agreed nor disagreed, 14% disagreed, and 3% disagreed strongly.
What type of engine their next car will have will clearly influence motorists' personal emissions, and here 45% of respondents said their next car would be petrol-fuelled and 42%, a diesel. Just 2% said they would choose a hybrid-electric car, but none opted for a fully-electric car. A dual-fuel LPG-petrol engine was the preferred choice of 1% of respondents.
Broken down by gender, the survey responses showed a slightly greener attitude among women concerning the wish for a car that would reduce their personal emissions, while male respondents showed a slightly higher inclination to choose a fuel type that might achieve that aim.
Over half (53%) of women said their next car would be petrol-fuelled, and 28% said diesel-fuelled, while under half (43%) of men would choose a petrol car against a higher 39% opting for diesel. 2% of men would consider a hybrid, against 1% of women. Overall, women are more likely than men (63% versus 52%) to want to choose a car with lower emissions, but this does not necessarily make them more inclined to purchase a hybrid or pure electric car.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers, 'Alternative Fuel Vehicles' (cars using neither conventional petrol nor diesel power) accounted for 3,026 units (1.0%) of the first-half of the 2011 UK new car market, private and business buyers combined. Of these, pure battery-electric cars accounted for just 670 vehicles, or 0.06% of new car purchases, according to data obtained by the RAC Foundation, and these were most likely to comprise a large majority of corporate registrations.
Trend Tracker analyst Toby Procter commented, "While the zero score for 'zero emissions' electric cars in the Trend Tracker consumer study may disappoint those pushing for electrification, the 2% of the male and 1% of the female samples surveyed interested in a hybrid is actually pointing in a greener direction than the current new-car market."
Procter added, "A high prevalence of 'Other/Don't know' responses in our survey may well indicate a lack of knowledge concerning what alternatives may be available when buyers come to choose a given car make and model in up to three years' time."
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