90% of trial drivers would recommend EVs

More than 90% of drivers who took part in the UK’s “largest” trial of electric vehicles (EVs) said they would recommend it to others. The 12-month programme provided a range […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

More than 90% of drivers who took part in the UK’s “largest” trial of electric vehicles (EVs) said they would recommend it to others.

The 12-month programme provided a range of test EVs to private and corporate fleet drivers to use every day, with more than 300 cars covering over 276,000 trips and clocking up more than 1.5 million miles with 50,000 recharges.

The trial, which was commissioned by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) also found drivers quickly got used to an electric car and easily adapted to them as 72% said it would suit their day-to-day needs.

In pre-trial interviews the key safety concern among drivers was the low noise of EVs but after three months they said they “generally paid more attention to pedestrians when driving at low speeds than they would have normally” and also preferred the “more relaxing driving experience” of an EV.

Little range anxiety was experienced during the trial as the vast majority of drivers kept comfortably within the capable range of the cars, with around 75% of daily use consuming less than half of the battery capacity.

Phil Smith, Chairman of the Technology Strategy Board said: “The UK is committed to a low-carbon economy and transport is a key area where change will be needed. This study shows how people will welcome and readily adapt to well-thought-out and effective innovation in this area.”

The trial was run by eight associations across the country, including major car manufacturers, universities, local authorities and power companies and was part of the £50 million Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme to showcase new and emerging low carbon technologies in real world situations and identify potential barriers.

Another report recently found almost half of British drivers would consider buying a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) in the next five years, however, worries around cost and infrastructure are hindering them from making a purchase.