The Government has been slammed for not doing enough to promote the growth of the electric vehicle market. And the damning report was carried out by its own Transport Select Committee.
The government currently offers a £5000 grant to buyers of electric cars, but the new report has concluded that this isn’t enough if the UK is to meet its climate change targets.
As the demand for plug-in cars stalls, the report recommends more targeted zero-emission vehicle policies.
Some of the figures released are quite staggering. To date the Department of Transport has spent £11 million on plug-in cars.
The reality is though that cash has only benefitted a handful of motorists, simply because electric vehicles still too expensive to be considered as a viable means of transport for the majority of buyers.
“We were warned of the risk that the government is subsidising second cars for affluent households,” Louise Ellman MP, the committee chair, said. “Currently plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving.”
It does beg the question though why it needed a Transport Select Committee to come up with such an obvious fact?
Staggeringly, the report though did identify the fact the government doesn’t have a register of all the charge points, which have been installed using public money.
As of March 2012, according to the National Chargepoint Registry, there were 452 charge points installed nationwide. The Department for Transport estimates suggest more than 3000 are currently in operation.
The facts certainly illustrate a picture of incompetence and — how shall we say — gilding the lilly when it comes to being factual about the growth of the electric vehicle infrastructure across the UK.
Not surprisingly, the committee has put forward a number of recommendations to aid take-up of electric vehicles.
These include making sure there is access to the charging infrastructure nationwide, and to reach an EU-level agreement as to the standard to be used for the charging infrastructure.
Embarrasingly, the DoT has also been called on to explain its under-spend in its low-carbon vehicle programme.