16 Feb
What will the car of the future look like?

The electric future is still a few years away, study finds

While there's plenty of news focusing on the rising popularity of electric cars and other alternative-fuel vehicles, these industry-changing developments are yet to secure consumer excitement. 

A new survey from UK insurance broker Adrian Flux found that businesses will still be getting a lot of mileage out of their fuel cards for a few years yet. Like any revolutionary form of technology, it takes time for consumers to respond. Although there are a number of excitable early adopters, the wider majority take longer to respond, instead waiting for these new cars to prove themselves. 

How could this excitement evolve?

Despite the number of interesting electric vehicles on display at this year's Detroit Auto Show, such as the Chevrolet Bolt, consumer interest hasn't grown with the same fervour as that of automotive engineers or the motoring press. 

Just 3 per cent of drivers are looking to buy an electric car in the next five years.

This was confirmed by a survey from Adrian Flux which considered how the British market is evolving with these trends. Despite the fact there are now 40,000 electric vehicles of some description on UK roads, future purchase intentions remain low. 

According to the organisation, just 3 per cent of the almost 1,800 drivers it surveyed will buy an electric car by 2021, with a further 23 per cent still undecided. 

Surprisingly, despite the potential for hefty tax rebates and significant government grants, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of the respondents are against the technology. 

Why are people sticking with tradition?

Adrian Flux discovered a wide variety of reasons people are likely to remain with petrol-powered cars. In some cases, people are simply traditionalists and would prefer to stick to something that's tried and true over what's still a relatively recent innovation. 

This mindset is likely an important one for fleet managers to consider. As any downtime for a business's fleet is particularly disruptive, consistency is a valuable attribute for any vehicle. 

However, there was one dominant trend for drivers who weren't interested in buying an electric car. Almost a quarter (22 per cent) said that even with the promised government grants and potential fuel savings the initial cost of entry is still too expensive.

While this sight is becoming more common, it's not the standard yet.While this sight is becoming more common, it's not the standard yet.

While many respondents did indicate an interest in embracing greener forms of motoring, with electric vehicles costing more than their petrol-powered counterparts it's often a hard sell. 

Although the future will almost certainly be dominated by hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles, petrol-powered cars are going nowhere in a hurry.