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 May 27, 2010
Barriers obstruct UK electric car usage

 A number of barriers to the large scale use of electric cars in the UK have been identified in a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The report said that there were issues with the cost of the more environmentally friendly vehicles, as well as the infrastructure needed to sustain their use in large numbers.

One of the most significant problems identified was that of supplying the energy to charge the vehicles from low-carbon sources without "overwhelming local distribution centres".

Professor Roger Kemp of Lancaster University, chair of the academy's electric vehicles working group, said: "When most electricity in Britain is still generated by burning gas and coal, the difference between an electric car and a small, low-emission petrol or diesel car is negligible."

In addition to this the report said that there were likely to be issues developing a charging network large enough to deal with high electric car usage, suggesting that plug-in hybrid vehicles may be the answer as they will require a less comprehensive infrastructure.

The current availability of suitable high-energy batteries at an economically viable price was also said to be prohibitive.

Nissan recently announced the price of its Leaf electric car would be comparable with most hybrid and diesel vehicles, at around £28,350 including the battery.