Thursday, September 20, 2012
Are electric car grants a good use of taxpayers' money?
That's the warning today from the House of Commons Transport Committee, who said that despite Westminster offering £11m worth of grants for those who buy plug-in vehicles, only “a handful” of motorists had taken the plunge, with many of those being richer buyers who are using them as second cars for shopping trips.
Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman, who chairs the committee, said: “The Government must do more to show that its plug-in vehicle strategy is a good use of public money. Carbon emissions from transport must be reduced if the UK is to meet its climate change targets, but public money must be targeted on effective policies.
"So far, Department for Transport expenditure on plug-in cars – some £11 million – has benefited just a handful of motorists. We were warned of the risk that the Government is subsidising second cars for affluent households; currently plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving. It is also unclear whether the provision of public charging infrastructure encourages demand for plug-in cars. Indeed, the Government does not even have a register of all the chargepoints installed at public expense."
An increasing number of manufacturers have launched both purely electric vehicles, such as Nissan's LEAF and Citroen's C-Zero, and plug-in hybrids, like Vauxhall's Ampera and Chevrolet's Volt.
The committee added that more investigation is required into the Government grants, to ensure they are a good use of public funds.
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