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The Electric Revolution - Will 2014 See The Rise Of The Green Car?

For the last three or four years now, electric cars have pretty much filled a role similar to that of the strange new kid at school. Still quite unknown, still relatively shy in coming forward and still largely unaccepted by the rest of the playground.

This greener alternative to your common petrol powered car has been teetering on the edge of popularity for a while now; yet the brave new kid still struggles to break through into the cool crew. Why?

Initial Sales Figures

Back in the year 2011, the British Government launched a plug-in car grant, worth £5,000, in an effort to spark interest and boost sales in the electric vehicle (EV) market. The year before saw less than 200 sales throughout the whole year; but despite the introduction of this grant, 2011 still witnessed less than 1000 sales. Figures started to improve slightly in 2013 as the third quarter saw a total of 1,139 ultra-low emission vehicles sold and registered for the first time. This was the first time that sales surpassed 1000 in a single quarter and represented a 19% increase from the previous year. Despite this slight improvement, sales are still slow and figures are still not ideal for manufacturers.

What has Been the Problem?

To the general public, there are a few glaringly obvious set-backs to owning an EV that make it an unattractive prospect. There are two pitfalls in particular that make it difficult for people to switch from traditional petrol engines; that is range and infrastructure. Up until now, plug-in vehicles have not been able to cover enough distance to make them a worthwhile purchase. Tesla Motors have recently proven that they can reach 250 miles on a single charge, but they admittedly cannot replicate this on a commercial scale yet. This issue has called for more investment, research and technology into the battery pack and life cycle of it.

Infrastructure will always prove to be an issue until more charging points are available throughout the UK. The British Government and major fuel companies need to invest in this infrastructure in order for EV’s to become a functional prospect. Rather than issue plug-in grants, I’m sure many existing EV owners would agree that this money could be better invested in charging points and stations.

Improvements in Functionality

The seemingly good news for 2014 is that many EV manufacturers have responded to issues related to range and began to offer solutions. A British manufacturer has made an outrageous claim that they will produce a car on the UK market that can achieve up to 1,000 miles on just a single charge. This is four times the amount to current commercial EVs and would represent an astonishing achievement in the electric motoring industry. The CEO of Liberty Electric Cars, Ian Hobday, has yet to announce a model name or price range; but he is confident that such a vehicle will be available in 2014.

No one can accurately predict the sales figures for the coming 12 months ahead, but one thing is for sure; if the range and infrastructure issues are addressed properly then the market is set to really take off. Such an expansion in purchasing figures will naturally supply a higher demand for charging points and will ultimately force the UK Government and fuel companies to act on this demand. With the amount of research and technology being piled into this sector of the industry at present, 2014 could see the beginning of the electric revolution.

The Revolution Begins: 5 Electric Cars to Watch Out For in 2014

If this is the beginning of the revolution then we must be prepared for it. This is it; the new kid in school is on the verge of being accepted by his more popular classmates and is starting a journey towards equal share of the playground. If this is the case, the new kid needs to start dressing cool as well as acting cool. Let’s face it, electric vehicles of the past have thus far not been the most attractive. With that in mind, here are five stunning green cars to look out for this year:

BMW i3This two-door hatchback has an ultra-modern design and is perhaps one of the most promising models to come in the next 12 months. There are rumours that BMW will follow this up with a hybrid sports car – we will wait in anticipation!

Ford Focus ElectricThe original Ford Focus is one of the most best selling cars in the UK, topping the sales charts every year between 1999 and 2008. So the prospect of an electric version is appetising as we would expect a solid and reliable alternative to petrol power. It is predicted that the car will reach over 100 miles on a full battery.

Toyota AurisThis car is officially a hybrid, but with 75mpg and only 85 g/km emissions, it is as good a hybrid as you are likely to find. With an eloquent design and fantastic fuel economy, this may be the car to stick with whilst you wait for the electric revolution to fully take over.

Volkswagen e-Up!This one sounds like it’s been named by a Yorkshireman, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. The car has already been rolled out across Europe and only costs around £19,000. Volkswagen are also releasing an electric version of the popular Golf model, but I would stick with this one if I were you.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ElectricYes, that’s right, even Mercedes are jumping on the electric bandwagon now! Momentarily turning their attention away from gas guzzling mega engines, this electric alternative has a range of 124 miles on a single charge and can reach 62mph in 7.9 seconds.

Ian Steele is a passionate motor enthusiast and an editorial coordinator at Lease 4 Less. Ian believes that the electric car revolution is imminent and is waiting only on range and infrastructure issues to be resolved before truly taking off; his advice is to keep a close eye on the market in the next 1-3 years.

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