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Electric cars are great in principle; lower fuel costs and you get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside from the knowledge you're helping Mother Earth.

But there are a number of drawbacks to battery powered cars that is preventing them from becoming the revolutionary new motoring technology their supporters hope they will be.

One of the biggest concerns for the average buyer is the fact that electric vehicles, or EVs, tend to be far more expensive than their conventionally fuelled counterparts.

This is mainly down to the expensive on-board battery packs that are used to power the cars, which generally cost in the tens of thousands of pounds.

But Renault has come up with an innovative way to help ease the burden for those of us who would like to do our bit for the environment but are put off by the cost.

It recently announced a headline-grabbing list price of £13,650 for its new Zoe EV, a price so low because Renault will lease the batteries for the car at a price of £70 a month rather than include them in the upfront cost of the car.

Now Volkswagen is contemplating doing something similar for its electric Up! model, due to be released in 2013.

Whether this establishes a new trend for EVs remains to be seen, but it could mean that buyers of the new Up! are put in the unusual position of leasing Volkswagen car parts from the manufacturer.

Speaking to MSN Cars at the Geneva Motor Show, Christian Adelt of VW product marketing said the car maker would monitor the reaction to its competitors' EV offerings before making a decision.

"We have not yet set if we will sell the battery with the car or lease it," said Mr Adelt. "We … have time to observe the marketplace before making our decision."