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Electric car sales drop over price, plugs in Britain

The number of electric cars sold in Britain has fallen by a third since the start of the year amid concerns that motorists are being put off by high prices, limited battery range and a lack of roadside charging points, a news report said Monday.

Industry figures showed that fewer than 1,000 battery powered cars have been sold since Jan. 1, down 33.7 percent on a year ago. Sales could fall further as a government grant of 4,500 British pounds (some 6,238 U.S. dollars) ends next month, the Times newspaper reported.

The report quoted Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, as saying that the figures showed that consumers were worried about the 4Rs, namely retail price, range limitation, recharging availability and uncertain residual value.

"Until more affordable models come to market with a longer range, and more is done to make recharging less of a headache, it is hard to see how the picture is really going to change," Gooding said.

Latest data released by the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that more drivers were opting for hybrid vehicles powered by a petrol or diesel engine and supplemented by an electric motor.

This has helped to push up overall sales of ultra-low emission vehicles since the start of the year by 19 percent.

The UK should speed up preparations for the rise of electric vehicles, said Ulrich Spiesshofer, the chief executive of ABB, the world's largest supplier of fast-charging points.

There are 14,344 charging connectors in the UK, according to ZapMap, which charts the scale of the UK's network.

Those charging points served around 132,000 plug-in vehicles at the end of 2017, but the National Grid has predicted that the number of electric cars could surge to nine million by 2030.

Electric cars have been forecast to add about 18 gigawatts of power demand to the grid, the equivalent of six Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations.

Electric cars are 100 percent eco-friendly as they run on electrically powered engines. It does not emit toxic gases or smoke in the environment as it runs on clean energy source. They are even better than hybrid cars as hybrids running on gas produce emissions.

Meanwhile, the figures also suggested that the British government still has a lot to do to meet its target of ending the sale of new diesel and petro cars by 2040. The cleanest hybrids will not be included in the ban although was for all new cars to be zero emission, suggesting pure electric or hydrogen.

In July 2017, Britain decided to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

Electric car use by country varies worldwide, as the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles is affected by consumer demand, market prices and government incentives.

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are generally divided into all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), that run only on batteries, and plug-in hybrids, that combine battery power with internal combustion engines (PHEVs).

The popularity of electric vehicles has been expanding rapidly due to government subsidies, their increased range and lower battery costs, and environmental sensitivity.
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