Government comms drive to boost take-up of electric cars

The benefits of choosing electric cars will be the focus of a renewed government push to promote ultra low emission vehicles to both consumers and businesses and combat public confusion about electric cars.

Electric vehicles make up just over two per cent of new car sales, according to campaigners (Pic credit: Go Ultra Low)
Electric vehicles make up just over two per cent of new car sales, according to campaigners (Pic credit: Go Ultra Low)

In 'The Road to Zero', a new strategy to reduce emissions, the Department for Transport states: "We will continue working with industry on consumer communications about ultra low emission vehicles until at least 2020."

It is part of a wider effort to change the culture of car ownership away from traditional petrol and diesel vehicles towards electric cars.

The government plans to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 – when the majority of new vehicles will have zero emissions.

The strategy, launched last month, adds that there will also be "a 2018/19 Go Ultra Low campaign to promote the benefits of ultra low emission vehicles to consumers and businesses."

Go Ultra Low is an ongoing joint government-industry marketing drive. Launched in 2014, it is funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and vehicle manufacturers (Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen) working in association with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Its campaign last year centred on case studies, in which owners of electric cars described how and why they had taken the plunge. It also featured online tools to enable people to work out how much they would save if they were to choose an electric car.

Attitudinal tracking carried out before and after that activity showed a 13 per cent rise in people viewing electric vehicles as a credible alternative to petrol and diesel cars, and a 19 per cent increase in those planning to purchase an electric vehicle.

Yet many drivers remain unaware of the benefits of electric cars, according to research carried out for Go Ultra Low earlier this year.

It revealed that 89 per cent did not know that electric cars accelerate quicker than their traditional counterparts, while one in four thought they are more expensive to keep running.

Another sign of the ignorance about this type of vehicle is that 42 per cent of respondents were unsure whether you can put an electric car through a car wash.

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: "The research shows that there is much confusion and misunderstanding [among] the British public when it comes to pure electric cars."

She added: "Dispelling these misconceptions and highlighting these perks is therefore vital if we are to see more motorists make the switch to electric motoring."

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