Most people like the idea of new vehicle technologies – they have the potential to reduce running costs, reduce our environmental impact, deliver efficiency, and interesting new designs.

The problem is, for the idea to become a reality, they need to favourably compare to the vehicles that we drive today.

I’ve driven a number of fully electric, hybrid and range extender vehicles over the past few months.

Like most drivers, my assessment isn’t based on how well they perform against other new technologies, its how they perform against the vehicle that I have now (an efficient but standard diesel). In terms of practicality, cost and comfort, that is my benchmark.

Now if all of my journeys were short, local and urban I might have different priorities so it’s very important to assess new vehicles based on your particular requirements.

However, for some drivers, compromise in terms of range, comfort and performance are not acceptable and could be a significant barrier to take-up.

The good news is that the manufacturers are making great strides in this arena. Take electric vehicles for example, more manufacturers are launching models, the up front cost is coming down and performance in particular is improving.

The sticking point is still range but I read recently that Volvo has developed an electric car that can be charged in just 90 minutes. Still much longer than it takes to refuel a combustion engine but great improvement none the less.

Infrastructure is also an interesting challenge and it can’t always be a debate about creating an extensive network; behavioural change is also a crucial factor.

Let’s remember in 1970 there were 37,500 petrol stations in the UK, last year (2012) this had fallen to 8,600.

Now, I don’t see lots of cars parked on the side of the road with no fuel, so gradual behavioural change has to have played a part.

The debate about infrastructure will clearly continue and will develop in line with demand but do we really need a pump, post or tank on every corner?

Where new vehicle technologies are practical for your purpose, then I would encourage you to use them; when wider spread take-up will come is largely dependent on the technology.

However, looking at the speed of development coming from the manufacturers, expect to see great advances over the next few years.