Road Safety News
 

Survey suggests luke warm attitudes towards electric cars

Monday 23rd June 2014

 

A bulletin published by the DfT suggests that interest in electric vehicles is, at best, luke warm.

The bulletin, ‘Public attitudes towards electric vehicles’, summarises the results of a survey from the Office for National Statistics which included questions about electric vehicles.

Just 5% of those surveyed said that they were thinking about buying an electric car or van. 14% said that they had thought about buying one and decided not to, while 56% said that they had not considered buying one. 18% of respondents said they don’t drive or don’t need a car.

Of those respondents with a full driving licence, the percentage who said they had not thought about buying an electric vehicle rose to 69%. 18% of these respondents said they had thought about buying one but decided not to, while just 6% said that they were thinking about buying one.

In terms of the most important factors putting them off buying an electric car, 40% said ‘recharging’, 39% said the distance travelled on a battery, 33% said cost and 16% said ‘lack of knowledge’.

Respondents said that that the most important factors that would encourage them to buy an electric car were lower cost (37%) followed by ‘nothing’ (23%). Other factors included increasing the distance travelled on charge (20%) and increasing the convenience of recharging (16%).

In a wider question about the most important factors when buying a car (with more than one answer allowed), 85% said cost, 78% said reliability, 66% said safety and 53% said comfort.

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Well at least we have established that this is a road safety story, even if some of us disagree about the levels of danger associated with electric cars.

Equally we must remind ourselves that mistakes so often happen by pedestrians whether that may be not hearing, not looking, not remembering we drive on the left, not noticing that its a one-way street. It's why motorists should always drive in a manner that minimises the possibility that anticipated and expected mistakes will result in death or injury.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)
+3

Better ban luxury cars then because they make no more noise at low speeds than electric vehicles.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
0

In support of Phil, the girlfriend of my flat-mate in 1978 was killed when she walked out in front of an electric milkfloat. Silent, but heavy due to the batteries. Yes, she clearly did not look around sufficiently, but the hazard of silent running was a factor in her tragic death. Hugh's horn and brakes are just controls and mitigations for the hazard but, from a safety engineering perspective, it would be more effective to eliminate the hazard.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)
+3

Phil:
Deaf people may not hear a conventionally powered vehicle's engine now - that's why our cars have horns! I believe electric cars will also have have brakes for this eventuality.
I recall a road safety advert from many yeas ago: "Mind that child - he may be deaf."
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (3)
-2

I think the electric car road safety issue is plainly obvious, Rod. A blind/partially sighted person (without a guide dog) would not know that an electric car is approaching, step in front of it and become seriously injured if that person is lucky.
Phil, Kent

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+4

Phil:
I think you need to make up your mind as to whether electric cars are or are not a "safety issue"?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

I have one question Rod. What is this website actually about?

Electric vehicles are in fact not safe as blind and partially sighted people will not be able to hear them coming and would present a danger to themselves. Guide dogs may not be aware that an electric vehicle is approaching them either.

Also, electric vehicle are not clean vehicles. Just think about how the electricity actually gets there (power stations) and the vast resources (toxic materials) required to make them.

Manufacturing new vehicles causes far more pollution than old vehicles over their entire lifetime. Another fact about new vehicles is that manufacturers are making too many of them, stockpiling them all over the world and letting them rot away rather than sell them at heavily discounted prices. More information is on these links:-

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-16/where-worlds-unsold-cars-go-die

http://www.inautonews.com/where-brand-new-cars-go-to-die

If you do a quick Google search, you will see a lot of articles about the waste of brand new vehicles.
Phil, Kent

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
+4

Eric and Phil
Thanks for your observations. We do from time to time cover stories which strictly speaking are not 'road safety' topics but which we think will be of interest to our readers.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)
+5

I think that public attitudes to the use of smaller, lighter and less polluting electric vehicles does have road safety consequences and therefore see no reason why it should be excluded.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (2)
+4

I think this article does not relate to road safety at all. Why include that article on here ?
Phil, Kent

Agree (2) | Disagree (5)
-3

This is not a road safety story.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (6) | Disagree (7)
-1