Sep 252012

How to Promote Green Cars

Governments and the auto industry are looking for ways to increase the demand for electric cars, as, at the moment, sales for these green cars are slow-moving. There has been plenty of debate and discussion regarding the development and promotion of eco cars.

Charging an Electric Car

Charging an Electric Car

Most of the UK’s focus has been on hybrid cars or fully electric cars that use plug-in charging systems. The Government has set-up initiatives on the supply side of things, yet consumer demand is still quite low.

Perhaps a Plug-In Car Grant

Attempts are being made to motivate demand, including the Plug-In car Grant, offering a cash incentive of up to 25 per cent to a maximum of £5,000, company car tax exemption, VED exemption and London congestion charge exemption. Still, these incentives have not caused much change in the demand of green cars.

Are they Unreliable?

One factor for slow demand of electric vehicles could be because the public thinks that they are potentially unreliable vehicles. Studies, such as by CABLED in the West Midlands, show that those willing to drive eco cars are either environmentally-conscious or technology-advanced people, while appealing to the wider public is still a challenge.

Is it Just Price?

Price remains the main problem, however, as well as the extra stress of charging a battery and the lack of selection in comparison to regular vehicles. As well, the green credential is undermined by production techniques and the electricity that is used to fuel the vehicles.

Improved Awareness

Experts and industry analysts agree that a greater political will is needed to aid in the growth of demand for green cars. Greater emphasis must be placed on the attitudes of consumers and their transport actions. A better strategy is one approach, with a strong emphasis on improved incentives and increased disincentives. However, improved awareness and a change in attitudes of vehicle owners are also essential.

More Incentive Packages

Improving the incentive packages for eco car consumers may very well help the green car market to improve if immediate benefits are considered. For example, in Norway, the government has introduced a package that includes 10 incentives, including free public parking, toll-road exemption, no congestion charges, access to bus lanes, a cut in annual road tax, free public vehicle charging, VAT and car tax exemption on purchases and a 50 per cent company car tax discount. These, together with 3,500 public charging posts, have increased the purchase of electric cars by 5,000, the highest number of green cars per capita in the world.

Improving Consumer Knowledge

Improving consumer knowledge about green cars, for example in terms of the range, performance, capacity and recharging, is also a key factor to the success of eco cars. The poor past performance of green cars has made current consumers avoid these vehicles, although they have greatly improved in recent years. Therefore, educating the public is essential, especially as many of the problems are exacerbated by bad driving habits.

Chevrolet Volt - A Car that Charges with Electric

Chevrolet Volt – A Car that Charges with Electric

Most of the journeys taken with eco cars are less than 40kms, which is well below the distance these vehicles are able to take on full charge. The government should, therefore, disclose the findings of vehicle trials to better promote the demand for electric vehicles.

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