I have blogged before about electric cars and in particular how despite the Governments best efforts to promote them they are just not ready for ‘prime time’ yet.
The Government’s £5,000 grant was intended to boost sales of electric cars which generally cost a third more than petrol or diesel vehicles. It appears that their hoped-for electric car revolution, jump-started by this grant, is getting off to a very slow start with just over 500 people signing up to the scheme since it was introduced at the start of the year.
The figures were revealed in a parliamentary answer by the junior transport minister Norman Baker, and show that 534 electric vehicles were registered to the so-called “plug-in car grant” during the first quarter of 2011. So far, only 213 have been delivered.
The incentive scheme, devised by the Labour government to mitigate the fact that electric cars typically cost at least a third more than conventionally powered equivalents, has sufficient funding during 2011 (the only year for which it is guaranteed pending a coalition review) for 8,600 cars. If sales fail to pick up it will struggle to reach a quarter of that figure!
There is expected to be a “sales surge” as more of the nine cars that qualify for the grant come onto the market in the coming months, among them Vauxhall’s Ampera, the Volt from Chevrolet and the new, all-electric version of Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid.
While electric cars are a significant outlay – the first two cars on sale, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf both cost about £28,000 – the AA calculates they can be run for about 2p per mile, against around 14p per mile for a similar-sized petrol or diesel car. They also pay no vehicle excise duty, have cheaper insurance premiums, are exempt from London’s Congestion Charge and can be charged for free at some public car parks.
The Leaf, which saw 20,000 pre-orders worldwide, has won the European and world car of the year awards, voted by motoring journalists.
But, despite all this the public can’t get over the fact that these are not a satisfactory alternative yet for good old petrol or diesel cars. Time for another idea?