A survey of UK drivers has shown that less than one in ten would even consider buying an electric car next – while the majority are confused about their cost, performance and practicality.

In addition, the motorists that do show a desire to buy an electric car form the group that understands them least.

The survey, by market analysts GfK, shows that there is "a clash between perception and reality," which "helps to explain why the public's interest in the vehicles has not translated to sales," according to the company.

Only 1,021 electric cars have been sold to date in 2011. By comparison, almost 85,000 Fiestas have left Ford showrooms in the same period.

Of the survey respondents, only one percent understood the performance, costs and practicalities of owning an electric car while expressing a desire to buy one.

Most drivers underestimate the cost and time it takes to charge an electric vehicle, while almost half erroneously believe they're cheaper than conventional cars.

Six in ten think it takes two hours to charge an electric car, and five in ten believe the range is over 200 miles.

In their electric dreams...it takes about six hours to charge the electric car, good for a 100-mile or so range.

And on the issue of price, the 44 percent who think electric cars cost less should compare the Nissan Leaf to an Audi A3: the Leaf is £26,000, even after the £5,000 Government electric car grant is applied, while the Audi A3 range begins at £17,000.

Francisco Lopez of GfK said: "Only when consumers have a good understanding of the practicalities of owning an electric car can they realistically be expected to start purchasing them."

Lopez, who believes that lowering the entry price for electric cars to around £15,000 would "triple" sales, continued: "The other solution – which is already happening with the Toyota Prius Plug-in and the upcoming Vauxhall Ampera – is that people dip their toes in the water with vehicles which allow an extended range."