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LPG autogas still has the legs on electric power

Figures issued recently by the Department for Transport (DfT) showed that 69 per cent of drivers ‘haven’t really thought about buying an electric car’.

This announcement followed statistics released earlier this year again by the DfT, which revealed that, over three years, fewer than 7,000 motorists claimed a government grant to subsidise the purchase of an electric car – leaving almost half of the original £400m pot unspent.

And this caution is now spreading to the market for second hand electric cars, according to Shoreham Vehicle Auctions, which says the used car market is reacting with extreme wariness to remarketed electric vehicles. The main problem is the potential cost of up to £10,000 of replacing battery packs in cars between four and 10 years old – a cost that could easily outstrip the value of the car.

In contrast, a nationwide survey that we carried out here at Autogas Limited demonstrated very positive public attitudes to LPG autogas. Nearly one third of drivers across England, Scotland and Wales would consider converting their vehicle to the cheaper fuel, while 43 per cent of London motorists said they would choose an LPG-fuelled car next time they changed if manufacturers offered those models in their showrooms.

Evidence of such a strong appetite for LPG autogas is a clear sign that many drivers consider it a leading alternative fuel. Manufacturers have consistently told us that the reason they don’t offer LPG autogas models in the UK is the lack of demand. We believe that these recent survey findings point to the very opposite being the case, with drivers showing genuine interest in LPG autogas.

So, isn’t it time for manufacturers to reflect the mood of the car buying public and add to their UK price lists the LPG autogas models that are already available to our European neighbours? We support a varied alternative fuel vehicle market and, with demand for electric remaining slow, LPG autogas must be part of it.

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