So is 2011 going to be the ‘year of the electric car’?
Details have recently been released of the first nine electric cars that will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000 in a government subsidy scheme.
Under the £43m initiative that starts on 1 January, buyers will get a 25% discount up to the maximum £5,000. However, only three of the nine cars will be immediately ready for delivery, with others following as late as 2012.
The government has also said that a further five areas are to install charging points after bidding for funds. The additional locations getting a share of £20m to build plug-in points are;
- Greater Manchester
- the east of England
- Northern Ireland
Of the nine electric cars so far confirmed as qualifying for the subsidy scheme, the three that will be available for delivery in January are the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Smart fortwo electric drive and the Peugeot iOn. The Mitsubishi is being advertised for sale from £24,000, after the £5,000 government grant. The Smart and the Peugeot electric cars will initially only be available through four-year leases.
The Nissan Leaf and Tata Vista will then follow in March, while the Citroen CZero is currently only confirmed for “early 2011”.
The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the Vauxhall Ampera (which is also a hybrid and not really an electric car!) are due to see their first
UK deliveries in early 2012. Where the eligible cars are leased by drivers instead of being bought, the up to £5,000 subsidy will mean a deduction on their monthly leasing fees.
But, this is not a level playing field! The best electric car for many years has been the Tesla – a sports car – why has this not been included? Surely this subsidy should relate to all electric cars available?