ENTHUSIASM for electric cars has failed to ignite, as concerns around the cost of running and maintaining the vehicles prove too high a risk for cash-strapped buyers, according to tax advisers KPMG.
KPMG surveyed 200 auto executives from 31 countries, and found that the cost of batteries and recharging the vehicles was a major barrier to those considering buying electric vehicles.
The North East has led development of the electric vehicle industry, with Nissan set to build the electric Leaf car at its Sunderland plant.
However, more than 60% of those surveyed said consumers wanted their vehicle to last for as long as possible, signalling a need for mature and sustainable technologies.
To meet consumer demand, car makers surveyed say they plan to optimise the petrol engine further and invest in hybrid plug-in fuel systems over the next five years.
John Leech, KPMG UK’s head of automotive, said: “There is an increasing realisation that the petrol engine has further scope for optimisation.
“This is quite a turnaround in direction and a sign that some of the newer technologies are taking longer than expected to emerge.
“This will benefit the UK, which is the second largest manufacturer of petrol engine-powered cars in Europe, and especially UK suppliers of turbochargers and direct injection petrol-engine components.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly in the current economic climate, 92% of consumers surveyed said that fuel efficiency for cost reasons is the primary factor in vehicle-buying decisions.