Younger Car Buyers In U.K. Want Electric Cars Far More Than Older


Vauxhall Ampera

Vauxhall Ampera

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Electric cars represent a relatively small number of new-car sales today, but could a change in buyer demographics change that?

Cars with plugs still seem fairly alien to generations that were raised knowing nothing but internal combustion.

But the newest generation of drivers may have a different attitude, a new study finds.

DON'T MISS: Millennials Own Fewer Cars, Seek Other Ways To Get Around: Report (Dec 2014)

A survey of 800 teenagers age 14 to 17 conducted jointly by the industry and the U.K.-government-funded Go Ultra Low campaign found that younger drivers in the U.K.have a more favorable view of electric cars, reports the Daily Express.

Of that population, 81 percent of 14-year-olds said they plan to make the first car they buy an electric car.

The survey respondents also felt that lowering carbon emissions should be an important consideration in vehicle purchases.

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

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The majority--88 percent--said that more people should be driving plug-in cars today, regardless of their age.

In addition, 53 percent of respondents cited low running costs as a priority when choosing a car, while about a quarter said they wanted a car that "feels good to drive in."

ALSO SEE: UK Official Says Encouraging Diesel Cars To Lower Carbon Was 'Wrong'

New technology was an important consideration for 29 percent of respondents, while just a third--32 percent--cited the ability to travel distances up to 700 miles as important.

"Our research shows that younger consumers are more drawn towards environmentally-friendly purchases," said Go Ultra Low chief Poppy Welch.

The campaign is backed by the U.K. government, as well as Audi, BMW, Renault-Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

2013 Renault Zoe electric car

2013 Renault Zoe electric car

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However, it's worth noting that the survey results may not necessarily translate to U.S. buyers.

Efficiency is a greater priority for U.K. and European buyers, who have historically had to deal with much higher fuel prices than their U.S. counterparts.

And awareness of climate change and the role carbon-dioxide emissions play in it is far higher in Europe, while a notable portion of the U.S. electorate does not accept the scientific consensus.

MORE: U.K. To Miss Out On 200-Mile Chevy Bolt EV, GM's 'Electric Car For Everyone'?

While advocates will find the responses of the U.K.'s future buyers encouraging, the survey sample represents only young people just learning to drive, who intend to purchase vehicles for the first time.

While they appear enthusiastic now, the question is whether they will retain their interest in electric cars over the long term--and whether their intentions will translate into actions.

[hat tip: John C. Briggs]

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