Electric Car Buyers Like, Feel Better Driving Them: UK Survey

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2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012

2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012

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Electric car drivers have long had a little secret: The cars are generally much nicer to drive than gasoline cars.

Now a new survey done at London Metropolitan University in England shows that despite initial skepticism, drivers of the plug-in vehicles came to like them better than gasoline cars in just three months.

“Drivers quickly adapted to the vehicles," said Dr. Louise Bunce, lecturer in psychology, "and were extremely positive about aspects of [their] performance, including...acceleration and speed."

The survey of 340 electric car drivers is part of work at the university that looks at ways to alter public perception of plug-in vehicles and encourage consumers to buy the cars.

In England, fewer buyers than expected have opted for plug-in cars, despite a $7,990 (£5,000) Government grant to offset the purchase price, no annual road tax payment, and far lower operating costs.

And, as the survey shows, drivers come to like them better than gasoline cars.

"This means," said consumer psychologist Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, that "marketers need to reposition electric vehicles to consumers.”

He heads a new research project at London Metropolitan into how best to change the consumer mindset on electric cars.

The study aligns with the U.K. government's goal of reducing the carbon emitted by road transport as part of a broader effort to cut emissions of climate-change gases.


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