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Londoners ready to switch to electric cars

Feb 25, 2016

LONDON, England - 16% of Londoners intend to vote for the Mayoral candidate who promises to tackle the city's air pollution according to a poll published today.

The research also found that London voters believe electric vehicles will solve the Capital's pollution problem. 80% say they would consider going green if they were buying a car in the next 6 months.

Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the professional body representing the retail motor industry worth £152 billion per year, commissioned the research that found 6 in 10 Londoners are worried about the environment and the long-term impact of air pollution that claims over 10,000 lives a year in the City.

Londoner's enthusiasm for electric vehicles comes despite their doubts around the capability of green cars. Most Londoners think they are more expensive to buy and to run than petrol or diesel cars, and that they are slower and have a limited range. They are also worried that there aren't enough charging points in the capital or enough qualified technicians to service the cars.

The IMI says electric and hybrid vehicles are just as fast as petrol cars, and the running costs are a fraction of current vehicles. They also have a more than adequate range to cover the average London journey of 8.9 miles. The BMW i3 can go 170 miles between charges, and best of all electric vehicles come with a Government grant of £5,000 and a free home charging point. They are also road tax and congestion charge free.

The IMI says that once drivers realise the real capabilities of green cars the desire will drive a surge in sales, which will have major policy implications for the new Mayor around the charging infrastructure and the maintenance skill base.

Steve Nash, CEO at IMI, said, "Very soon drivers will realise the true capabilities of electric vehicles with manufacturers continuing to advance the technology. As our research indicates demand will surge, and it's clear the next London Mayor has an urgent task to ensure the charging infrastructure is capable of keeping pace as Londoners make the switch to greener fuel to get around the city.

"The Government will also need to focus on the skills base required to keep these cars on the road. With only 1,000 technicians currently qualified in the UK, they have some way to go."

Labour's Mayoral candidate Sadiq Kahn said "With air pollution killing thousands of Londoners every year, it must be a priority of the Government and the next Mayor of London to get more people using electric cars across our city. Alongside replacing polluting diesel buses with hybrid and electric models, electric cars will play a key role building a greener, healthy and prosperous city for all Londoners.

"As Mayor I'll work closely with manufactures, business and the Department for Transport to ensure electric cars are an affordable option for Londoners, and we have the charging points and infrastructure necessary to make electric cars a viable part of everyday life."

In the last three years, the UK has seen a rise in demand for plug-in cars with registrations increasing from 3,500 in 2013 to 48,000 by the end of 2015.

Stats from the survey

Research carried out for the IMI by Vital research and statistics, between 2nd-10th February 2016. Sample 1,723 adults living in Greater London and registered to vote.

58% care about the environment

82% think recycling is important

26% think politicians should take the lead on environmental issues

6% wouldn't consider the environment when buying a car

22% would support a party that would take action on air pollution

11% would support a politician that champions electric car use

7% think there enough electric car charging points in London

83% think electric cars are more expensive to run than petrol engine cars

27% have changed their behavior to protect the environment

Londoners ready to switch to electric cars

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