Electric Car Sales Stall After UK Govt Cuts Subsidies

  • Date: 13/05/19
  • The Times

Drivers in European countries bought twice as many electric cars as their British counterparts last year as the government significantly reduced grants for green vehicles.

Sales of cars powered solely by battery were more than twice as high in France and Germany, adding to concerns over “sluggish” demand in the UK and questions over how the government will reach its targets for phasing out new petrol and diesel cars.

Norway sold three times as many electric cars as Britain while the Netherlands had sales that were 70 per cent higher, even though both countries have much smaller populations.

A report by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (EAMA) also showed that the rise in sales recorded in the UK last year was smaller than for any European country apart from Switzerland. The increase — 13.8 per cent year on year — was about a quarter of the European average.

Last autumn the government made the controversial decision to cut the grant for buyers of new ecofriendly cars, making them more expensive. The grant for pure electric cars was reduced from £4,500 to £3,500 and incentives for plug-in hybrids, which run on a combination of battery power and combustion engines, were abolished.

Electric cars cost up to £10,000 more than their petrol or diesel equivalents and the government has acknowledged that the gulf in price is unlikely to close until the mid-2020s at the earliest.

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