Electric cars are not the answer, say drivers

A survey of UK drivers by YouGov has revealed that most of us don’t see electric cars as a better alternative to conventional cars in the long term.In response to the statement electric cars are the only real future alternative,” only quarter of 2,000 motorists actually agreed with it. Around half disagreed with it entirely. The other quarter said “meh”. Almost 70% of drivers think electric cars are a “limited” alternative to today’s internal combustion cars, suggesting that, despite the best efforts of Nissan and Renault*, an electric future is far from assured.

Half of all drivers reckon hydrogen is a better alternative, while slightly fewer (41%) believe that the way forward is to produce more efficient petrol and diesel engines, even for the long term.Hydrogen power – which Honda is a known proponent of, having put the FCX Clarity on sale in the US – circumvents the electric car’s main issue, of long charging times, by using hydrogen to produce electricity. A hydrogen car can be refueled just like a petrol or diesel car can.Of course, there’s chicken and egg scenario to overcome: to make hydrogen cars viable, a fueling infrastructure is required, including a cost-effective way of producing the hydrogen. But in order for anyone to invest heavily on that, they’re going to want assurances that hydrogen cars will proliferate.

Back to the survey, of all the people who own an alternatively fueled car today, 75% also own a conventional motor, while a third own two or more. The vast majority of ‘alternatively’ fueled cars on the road today are hybrids; only 8% of respondents said they own a fully electric car.

And actually, that ratio seems quite high: last year Nissan sold less than 1,000 Leafs, giving it a 0.03% market share.

*There are, of course, other manufacturers producing electric cars, but Nissan and Renault are arguably at the forefront of their growth.