Battery Cars, Buyers' advice, electric cars, Motoring News, vehicle technology

Battery-car grants shocker from UK government

  • State aid to buy electric slashed
  • Plug-in car grant hits sales
  • Short notice on cut angers automakers
KIA GOES SUPERHYBRID: The 2016 Kia Optima PHEV has been launched in Europe. Image: Newspress/Kia Motors
KIA GOES SUPERHYBRID: The 2016 Kia Optima PHEV was been launched in Europe as the brand’s first plug-in electric car. Image: Newspress/Kia Motors

LONDON, England – The British government’s decision to cut what has become known as ”the Plug-in Car Grant” will have far-reaching consequences for vehicle buyers, the environment, and the auto industry.

That’s the view of the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, as stated on October 12 2018 and what it means, in simple terms, is that, in effect, electric cars will become more expensive to individuals.

The grant for zero-emissions cars will be cut by one-third and completely removed in the case of plug-in hybrids, the SMMT says, ”totally at odds with the government’s ambition to be the world leader in the take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles as announced in its ‘Road to Zero’ strategy.

ONLY A MONTH’S NOTICE

It also sends, the SMMT says, confusing signals to potential buyers and will make it virtually impossible for the UK government and industry to meet their CO2 reduction targets.

READ MORE plug-in features on Carman’s Corner

”Furthermore, giving manufacturers and buyers only a month’s notice with a cap on volumes will result in yet more distortion to a market already affected by previous conflicting government policies and put even greater pressure on industry.

”Automakers have already invested billions to bring new technology to market to give buyers a choice of driving needs and budgets. Thanks to the plug-in car grant, zero emissions-capable plug-in hybrids have become increasingly popular but, at less than two percent, uptake is still very small.”

‘DEVASTATING TO DEMAND’

The sale of 160 000 plug-in hybrids over the past seven years is less than a half-percent of the 34.7-million cars on British roads. To grow zero and ultra-low emission vehicle uptake to the levels needed to make a meaningful impact on CO2 and air quality, the SMMT asserts, buyers’ concerns about affordability and convenience should be addressed.

Removal of the grants in other countries, it adds, ”had a devastating effect on demand”. Denmark, for example, saw sales of pure electric cars plummet by 73% ”and the market has still not recovered”.

The grant has helped the UK to being one of the EU’s biggest markets for electric vehicles. Removing the incentives not only dulled demand but could also encourage manufacturers to re-allocate products to more supportive markets.

‘WORKING HARD ON CHALLENGES’

Mike Hawes, the SMMT ‘s chief executive, said: “We understand the pressure on the public purse but, given the importance of environmental goals, it’s astounding that just three months after publishing its ambitious vision for a zero emissions future the government has slashed the very incentive that offers our best chance of getting there.

”Industry is working hard to address the challenges of CO2 and air quality. It can produce the technology but cannot determine the pace of uptake. We have consistently said that if the UK is to be fit for an electrified future we need a world-class package of incentives and infrastructure.

”The government needs to re-think its policy or its ambitions will never be realised.”

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