As people become more conscious about the impact they have on the environment and their individual carbon footprint, the issue of sustainable travel continues to be a serious subject for debate.
With recent technological advances in the manufacturing of electric cars, it is now possible to drive a reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly motor. However, recent reports have revealed that the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK is considerably lower than originally forecast with only 786 vehicles having been registered so far in 2011.
This even takes into account the Government’s ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ which offers a £5,000 reduction on the cost of a ‘plug-in’ car. The scheme predicted 8,600 electric cars would be in use by the end of 2011 based in part on the financial support made available by the Government.
The industry is developing and everywhere you turn you are likely to see the increasing number of electric car charging points as the UK electric-infrastructure starts to take formation across not only big cities but smaller towns too, yet numbers remain low. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders it is simply down to a slow adopter phase and lack of knowledge due to the new technology. The Department for Transport has suggested that as more models of electric car are introduced to the market there will be a quick and vast uptake.
As everyone in the UK is expected to tighten their belts due to the increase in the cost of living and in particular the cost of fuel, it could be predicted that an increasing number of people may choose to trade in their old cars and opt for the more environmentally friendly, cheaper option of public transport.
Nowadays, pretty much everywhere is accessible via public transport; Newcastle for example, allows members of the public to travel and get across the North East in every direction by using Metro or one of the many bus services available. Additionally, the trains in and out of the city, provide a direct link to the rest of the UK, meaning commuter travel has never been easier.
In fact, public transport has never been more sought-after, providing users with a regular service to the places they want to go, at a reasonable cost, much lower than owning and operating a car. With no considerations having to be made for parking and a reduced stress journey to your destination where you can catch up on the news or check e-mails, public transport is fast becoming the number one choice for travel.
In reality, many people simply opt to own a car for the convenience, but also use public transport, so how do the likes of Nissan ensure when it comes to replacing a car, the public adopt a plug-in one? Accompanied by the rising cost of petrol and the evolving models of electric cars, Nissan has pledged to sell 1.5 million electric cars by 2016. Relying on the values of those making an investment in a new car, Nissan is aiming to iron out any previous misconceptions about the drawbacks of electric vehicles and push forward with its green agenda.
At the same time, local transport providers are upping the ante and ensuring there are plenty of regular and frequent services into towns and cities in order to offer people the best possible alternative to driving.
Only time will tell if driving a plug-in car will become the norm or whether we will all be at the bus stop in the morning. One thing is for certain, environmental considerations are becoming more engrained in the minds of everybody in the UK.