A study conducted by the British arm of european utility company nPower suggests that consumer ignorance is still holding back sales of all-electric cars.

In a survey of 2,000 people, nPower discovered that many of those questioned were unaware of governmental grants to assist in the purchase of plug-in vehicles and had wildly inaccurate impressions what it was like to drive and own an electric car. 

Of those questioned, many believed that an electric car like the 2011 Nissan Leaf would cost as much as £15 ($25) to fully charge overnight, at least 7.5 times more expensive than the actual cost. 

Worse still, many of those questioned said they believed there were less than 50 places in the whole of the U.K. where an electric car could be recharged. In reality, that figure will be an order of magnitude higher by the start of this Summer. 

Update: Mitsubishi i-MiEV to begin testing in California

Update: Mitsubishi i-MiEV to begin testing in California

Given the information gathered, it is hardly surprising that nearly 50% of those questioned cited that electric cars were simply too expensive to even consider buying at the present time, despite the current average gas prices of $8.70 per gallon (U.S)

There is at least some good news: U.K. sales of electric cars in the five months since the start of 2011 are already four times the total number of electric cars sold in the U.K. during the whole of 2010. That said, only 55 electric vehicles were sold nationwide last year. 

The slow adoption trends seem to continue,  with data from the U.K. government suggesting that as few as 534 applicants have registered to take advantage of its $8250 Plug-in Grant towards the cost of buying a new plug-in car. This figure represents a fraction of the total budget set aside by the coalition government to encourage electric vehicle ownership. And of those who have taken advantage of the grants, only 213 applicants have received their car thus far. 

Of course, the U.K. is much smaller than the U.S., and sales of the 2011 Nissan Leaf only started at the end of March. Right now, the only other cars available are the 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev and its rebadged siblings, the Peugeot iOn and the Citroen C-Zero. In other words, very few cars have been sold because very few cars are available and those which are available have only been on sale a few months. 

The report highlights one simple fact. If electric car adoption is to succeed worldwide automakers need to better educate the public, through more advertising, better exposure to electric cars and of course, lowering the sticker price. 

[nPower via Nextgreencar.com]