Electric car sales under a government scheme to encourage more people to buy them have halved, compared with the project’s first small surge, according to new figures. Just 215 electric cars were bought with the Plug-In Car Grant in its second three months of operation, compared with 465 in its first three months.
From 1 January 2011, individuals and businesses have been able to apply for discounts of up to £5,000 to buy cars that emit 75 grams of CO2 per kilometer or less. £43million has been set aside for the scheme until March 2012 but as yet, only £3.4 million has been dished out.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the transport charity RAC Foundation said: “The figures show the mountain we have to climb if the national car fleet of 28 million vehicles is to turn truly green.” With many of the cars covered by the scheme costing over £20,000, even with the grants, they are still much more expensive than similar-sized petrol and diesel models, he added.
At the end of 2010 there were just 1,500 electric cars registered in the UK compared with 81,000 hybrids and 28 million petrol and diesel cars.
Prof Glaister suggested that “we would do well to concentrate as much on already proven hybrid technology as anything else” if the UK is to see significant reductions in carbon emissions from personal vehicles in the short to medium term.