Bad news if you want to go green but don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on a car – the Department for Transport has cut a grant for new electric and hybrid cars making them even more expensive.
The UK government had been funding a subsidy to make them more affordable, with the most eco-friendly cars eligible for a £4,500 and a discount of up to £2,500 for cars considered category two and three eco-friendly cars.
But it has announced discounts on category two and three cars will be axed altogether, and that the discount for the most eco-friendly cars on the market will be reduced to £3,500 from November 12.
The AA and the RAC have hit out at the move, slamming it as a “major blow” to plans to encourage consumers to buy more efficient cars and slash air pollution by ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars.
Electric cars – what are the barriers to buying them?
Price is a major factor. Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of roads policy, told Sky News that the up-front cost of buying a greener car was a “huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle.”
“This move from the government is a big step backwards and is in stark contrast to countries like Norway, where generous tax incentives have meant that it has one of the highest ownership levels of ultra-low emission vehicles of anywhere in the world,” he said. “This announcement will simply put more drivers off from buying greener cars.”
And because electric cars are not mainstream, and relatively new, there is also a limited second-hand market. Whereas you could buy a petrol or diesel car for a few hundred pounds, a second hand electric car will cost in the thousands.
And when it comes to the practicalities, unlike petrol or diesel cars, electric cars take hours to fully charge, while a petrol car which can be filled up in minutes.
A recent survey from the AA found half of drivers aged 25-34 said they’d like to own an electric car, compared to 40 per cent aged 18-24 and 40 per cent aged 35-44.
But it also found the “vast majority” of people surveyed think there aren’t enough public charging points.