Nissan Leaf trial taxis in London

Electric vehicle makers like Nissan and Renault have long preached that giving more people the chance to drive a plug-in is key to spurring EV sales. Now, a UK report says that the best was to make this happen is to get more EVs into the rental market.

UK's Royal Automobile Club (RAC) Foundation and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) said in its 16-page study that high costs and limited recharging infrastructure are (yes, again) the key hurdles to getting prospective buyers to acquire EVs. With that in mind, the most affordable way to give the public the chance to rent – and thus drive – EVs is through rental companies that can better afford them.

"One of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle uptake by private individuals is that of cost, particularly high upfront purchase costs," the study says. "Research suggests that there is a great match between the car rental market and potential electric vehicle buyers/users, supporting the argument that offering these vehicles on a pay-as-you-go basis could increase their use and visibility." You can browse the 16-page RAC/BVRLA study here (PDF).

As it is, the UK government appears to be looking for its own ways to spur EV sales in order to reduce pollution in cities such as London. Last month, UK-based This Is Money reports that the UK may no longer exempt small-engined diesel vehicles from London's congestion fees, leaving only plug-in vehicles below the emissions threshold required for free city motoring.