Even free money can’t tempt people to buy electric cars
Despite the fact that we are all skint, the Government would still like us all to be a bit greener. They are still touting loft insulation and smart electricity meter schemes, and since January 2011, if you buy an electric car, they will give you free money towards the purchase price.
However, even with 25% of the purchase price (up to a maximum of £5,000) paid by the Government, sales of electric cars have not been as sparky as had been hoped. With a reported pot of £30million available for electric-car-bungs, latest Department for Transport figures to June say that only 1,706 claims have been made. Good job they invested all that money in creating a network of plug points for this new swathe of electric vehicles then.
What’s worse, the Government- who are in no way biased towards the wealthy- are now being accused of inventing yet another scheme that only benefits the upper middle class and well-off, looking for a fashionably environmentally-conscious second (or third) car. After all, who else can afford one? Examples are the Vauxhall Ampera and the Nissan Leaf, which cost £28,995 and £25,995 respectively, both figures quoted AFTER the £5,000 grant.
A report by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has now said that these grants are “subsidising second cars for affluent households”, highlighting the fact that in addition to the money paid out in grants, “the Government appears to have spent £11million on providing infrastructure that currently benefits only a handful of vehicle owners.” Coincidentally, the committee was chaired by an opposition MP.
However, transport minister Norman Baker refuted the suggestion, saying “It is categorically not the case that this grant is only for rich families wanting a second car,” claiming 75 per cent of purchases made under the plug-in car grants have been by businesses wanting to reduce pollution and running costs. Of course, he would say that.
In 2011 there were only 1,052 vehicles eligible for the ‘plug-in car grant’ registered, although this year’s figures do show a slight increase predicted for the year, with 989 cars sold up to the end of August. It could be a while before the roads are overrun though.
So would you buy an electric car? What would the grant have to be to tempt you? £25,000?