Experts advise to sell electric cars ‘like mobile phones’

Due to sustainability targets most governments across the world are currently coming up with schemes to incentivise people to buy electric cars over their more traditional counterparts. For instance, in the UK the government has introduced the Plug-In Grant scheme, which gives those willing to buy a plug-in or hybrid car £5,000 towards the costs. However, these types of vehicles are still not proving popular in the UK, and only 3,600 vehicles have been bought using this scheme, and experts are claiming that things may not look better in the future.

Electric vehicles are generally unpopular due to the fact that there is a lack of models to choose from, they cost more in motor insurance, and they are generally more expensive than other cars. This is why experts are now calling upon car manufacturers to start marketing their electric vehicles in a new way, such as on a month by month basis much like a mobile phone. Discussing the idea, Professor Nigel Linge of Salford University said: “Mobile phones were called the ‘yuppy phone’ for good reason when they first came out. Unless you worked in the City, you couldn’t afford one.”

“What changed was the agreement that Europe should adopt the single GSM system for all mobile phones. The market got bigger, prices fell. If I was asked to advise motor manufacturers how they can learn from the success of the mobile phone industry, I’d say it’s about infrastructure and volume. Drill down further and batteries – like GSM protocol – are all-important in driving volume. Perhaps the Government should fund research into shared power cell technology and take the risk away from manufacturers.”

Meanwhile, Dr Louise Bunce from Oxford Brookes University said: “Car makers need to understand how people view cars and phones as an extension of their mobility. Electric cars are forms of computer, as are smartphones. Manufacturers should look at the deals available to mobile phone customers and offer similar options to people who want electric vehicles.” So far there have been a number of ways that car manufacturers and governments have tried to promote electric cars, however it seems that marketing them as distinct from petrol cars instead of an alternative may be more beneficial. Add to this new ways to purchase and pay for electric vehicles and they could become more popular in the future.

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