The electric car revolution that environmentalists will have hoped for seems to be stalling with one major problem – no one seems interested in buying one.
The government set up a £5,000 electric car grant scheme on 1 January this year and experts hailed 2011 as a “breakthrough year” for the cars as mass-market manufacturers roll out new models. However a parliamentary question this week has revealed that only 534 cars have been registered for the scheme with only 213 of these cars actually on the road. Hardly the explosion of electric vehicles the government would have been hoping for, but considering the extra expense it’s hardly surprising. The scheme has been budgeted for up to 8,600 cars throughout the year but with a paltry take-up of the scheme so far, we may see the scheme continue into next year and beyond.
Electric cars are typically one third more expensive than their petrol alternatives with the two highest profile models, the Nissan Leaf (seen above) and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, both costing £28,000. Those promoting the benefits of electric cars claim that electric vehicles can be run for 2p a mile compared to 14p a mile for petrol vehicles. While the Leaf has won plaudits around the globe and had pre-orders of 20,000 units it seems as if in general Britons haven’t embraced this new technology – yet. However if we look back a couple of years when only 55 fully electric vehicles were sold in 2009, it is a significant if not meteoric increase.
Experts still believe that the grant will be a success as all nine of the qualifying models become available including the highly popular fully-electric version of Toyota’s Prius. Do you think the expected electric vehicle revolution will take off or will people be unwilling to spend the money on the new technology?