Feeling the Spark: Driver Learning to Love Electric Cars

While only about three in every 100 new car buyers choose a pure electric, battery-powered car, the message that this technology represents the future for personal transportation is “cutting through”, as the phrase goes. According to research commissioned by MPA, a technology innovation firm, almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of people agreed that we should drive less to save the environment.

One of the most environmentally friendly alternatives to the traditional internal combustion engine is the electric car, which create less greenhouse gas and other emissions. It seems the British public approves, at least in principle, with the research finding that 69 per cent agree that electric cars are the future of the motor industry. (The polling was conducted by YouGov Profiles.)

Transport accounts for almost a third (30 per cent) of the world’s total energy use and around a quarter of the global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. With climate change on the news agenda, albeit less prominently than expected in the recent general election, more consumers than ever are starting to consider making a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint. There is no bigger industry that is impacted by this than the travel and motor sectors.

Although sales of electric cars are still relatively modest, they are growing extremely rapidly. Last year saw 15,474 sales of pure electric cars in the UK (ie excluding hybrids and plug-in hybrids). That was a record year according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (the main industry body) and up from 13,597. In the first 11 months of 2019, though, a total of 32,911 have already been registered – an increase of 136 per cent at a time when the rest of the market is stagnating.

Next year should see another boost, this time from a new generation of highly capable mainstream vehicles. Makes such as Smart, Volvo, Polestar, Vauxhall, VW, Seat and Peugeot are set to introduce new mainstream models that will be increasingly affordable. They join others across the market that have helped to tempt buyers and stimulate interest, from the luxury Tesla models to the performance-oriented Porsche Taycan and BMW i8 through the Jaguar I-Pace to the Nissan Leaf, Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona. Almost every manufacturer is setting ambitious targets for reducing its carbon footprint and making the electric car a realistic proposition for families.

Next year should see another boost, this time from a new generation of highly capable mainstream vehicles. Makes such as Smart, Volvo, Polestar, Vauxhall, VW, Seat and Peugeot are set to introduce new mainstream models that will be increasingly affordable. They join others across the market that have helped to tempt buyers and stimulate interest, from the luxury Tesla models to the performance-oriented Porsche Taycan and BMW i8 through the Jaguar I-Pace to the Nissan Leaf, Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona. Almost every manufacturer is setting ambitious targets for reducing its carbon footprint and making the electric car a realistic proposition for families.

MPA argues that similar trends are affecting air travel, an obvious source of damaging CO2 emissions. 

British Airways, for example, is the latest company to announce plans to invest in this area, announcing its initiative to transform household waste into jet fuel for its aircraft. The project, which will be based in Lincolnshire, is set to produce the alternative fuel from 2024. The use of such novel fuels may well be the biggest factor in minimising the industry’s impact on the environment, as a flight completely powered by sustainable fuel has the potential to reduce the carbon emissions of that flight by up to 80 per cent, according to the consultants.

John Lowndes, director at MPA, said: “The travel and motor sector is one of the industries that has seen the most consumer backlash from the increase in public interest in eliminating climate change, so it is great to see that so many businesses are already investing in innovative ways to be more sustainable.

“Factors such as increased customer demand for electric cars and more sustainable air travel will definitely help in offsetting carbon footprints and will help the nation in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.”

Source – the Independent

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