Electric cars are by no means a modern concept, but it’s only been in the last 10 years or so that the UK has really seen a growing interest in the manufacture and design of these cars.
The technology has always been there, after all, it was Thomas Parker who first invented an electric car back in 1884, which unless you’ve read up on your historic car facts you may be astounded to know was two years earlier than the first petrol engine in 1886.
Obviously as we know the fuel engine took off snubbing the electric motor for its slow speeds and high costs. And here we are today, well over a century later and on the brink of taking a few steps back to move forward.
What’s sad to think is, it appears that a price tag rather than the threat of damaging fuel fumes is what’s triggered our further development and interest in the world of eco-friendly motors, swapping a fuel cap for a plug-in and hailing ourselves as a good citizen. The threat after all has been known for decades, damaging our ozone layer one ignition switch at a time.
Granted, we’re under no illusion that petrol engine cars have much more kerb appeal than their hybrid and electric cousins, accounting as one of the main reasons for the slow uptake, but with decade’s worth of heavy investment into cutting edge designs it’s really no wonder.
On the positive side, last year saw a significant jump in the purchase of eco-motors in the form of a weighty 25% increase from the previous year for newly registered ultra-low emission vehicles. Why so? It could possibly be down to the Government’s Plug-In scheme, offering consumers and businesses up to £5000 against the purchase of a new electric car and up to £8000 for the van equivalent. Then again this isn’t a new concept having being around since the start of January 2011.
Word of free money usually spreads fast, yet it appears that where our cars are concerned this has had little impact. As of 31st March 2014, 8724 claims had been made since the start of the Government initiative, which over the 3 years isn’t a staggering average. Especially when you consider that not only do you save thousands on the purchase, but there’s even more savings to be had on the running costs and low (if not non-existent) taxing costs.
Our advice for what it’s worth, is for the marketers to take a few tips from across the pond. A recent study in the US, found that electric car owners are in fact younger and richer than hybrid owners. Yes, it surprised us too but setting the trends with a new a generation is clever ploy for the future.
So, could we be in the initial baby steps of waving goodbye to our fuel filled motors? We certainly think so. Fuel costs are hardly going to crash anytime soon, so as long as the electric and hybrid market respond well to this uptake then we’ll be looking at a much brighter (and less foggy) future.