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Recent research in which over 10,000 drivers were polled by UK motoring organisation the AA has found that half of 25-34 year-olds would like to own an electric car. 40% of those aged 18-24 and 35-44 agree with them. This figure dropped to just 25% among the over 65s. Overall, 31% of those questioned said they would like to own an electric vehicle.

The government’s commitment to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel powered cars by 2040 means that we motorists will at some point in the future need to consider electric vehicle ownership.  Only 35% of those asked thought they would be driving an electric vehicle within the next ten years.

The survey indicated that the lack of public charging points for electric cars is one of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle ownership at the moment, with 85% citing this as a problem.   Concerns over the limited ability to travel long distances on a single charge were expressed by 76% of those surveyed, with the same percentage feeling electric vehicles were too expensive. Meanwhile, 67% thought that electric vehicles took too long to charge and that there was not enough choice of electric car models.

Lowering CO2 emissions from cars by moving to electric vehicles makes a huge amount of sense, provided those cars are charged using renewable energy.  Driving electric vehicles can be a highly enjoyable experience, with a smoothness and quietness that you can't get in a petrol or diesel vehicle, coupled with levels of torque that all but the most powerful fossil-fuel powered vehicles struggle to match.  But that experience can sometimes be tempered by anxiety over whether you have enough charge in the batteries to reach your destination. Whilst some electric vehicles can now travel up to 300 miles on a single charge, others have a range of 100 miles, which is fine for use in towns and cities, but not for long-distance journeys.

That’s why we need a concerted effort to ensure that we get the new charging infrastructure right for electric vehicle.  We don’t need to replicate the experience of filling up with petrol or diesel, but charging needs to be easier and faster (and hopefully less frequent!) than it is now for electric vehicles to achieve really widespread adoption.  

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling recently announced a new strategy aimed at reducing vehicle emissions to zero.  Included in the announcement were increased funding for the creation of new charging points for electric vehicles and the fact that the government is considering whether all newly-built homes and offices should be required to have charging points for electric vehicles.

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