A month since the launch of the Plug-in Car Grants, new research from leading green car guide, TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk has found that 40 per cent of people think that the grants worth up to £5,000 will be enough

to persuade them to buy an electric car or other eligible car.

The first cars available in the UK which qualify for the grants are electric vehicles with plug-in hybrids available from next year. As the first eligible cars start to go on sale, it is the appeal of these vehicles which will determine the initial rate of interest in the Plug-in Car Grants, according to the TheGreenCarWebsite. Editor Faye Sunderland said: "However, as all the first qualifying vehicles are electric, it could be those age-old concerns about the performance of such vehicles coupled with still quite high purchase prices that is deterring the other 60 per cent of motorists.

"We thinks there is a simpler reason that public interest electric cars will take time to pick up. For many people, electric cars are a bit of a mystery, they are not sure they even really exist, at least in true market capacity anyway. And even when they are sure they are out there, they fear the unknown. It is still a big ask for consumers to buy a vehicle that they are unsure of how it works and how to adapt to using it.

“The trick for car makers is to persuade customers to come and try their electric models. However, the environmental credentials of electric vehicles won’t be enough for motorists, it will be the potential savings in running costs which will convince many people to make that final leap of faith and buy an electric car,” she adds.

Despite that over half of those polled thought the grants weren’t enough. TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk believes that the interest in the new Plug-in Car Grants will pick up as the year progresses. The first three cars available with the grants are the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, smart fortwo electric drive and the Peugeot iON; all have been on sale since January 2011.