RAC launch ‘urgent call’ to bring electric car grants back

GB News guests debate using electric cars

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In June, the Government announced it would be scrapping the car grants to focus funding on the development of the public electric car charging network. The EV grant allowed drivers to apply for £1,500 in funding to go towards an electric vehicle under £30,000 to boost the uptake of the vehicle type.

The scheme succeeded in creating a mature market for ultra-low emission vehicles, helping to increase the sales of fully electric cars.

In 2011, it was less than 1,000 but flourished into a market where almost 100,000 were sold in the first five months of 2022 alone.

In cutting the car grant, the Government allocated around £300million to support the uptake of electric vans, taxis and motorcycles to boost drive to net zero.

It had previously been reduced from £2,000 for a vehicle under £35,000.

As prices for electric vehicles continue to fall, there is optimism from the industry that they will soon reach price parity with petrol and diesel cars.

Some experts have forecast that this could happen as soon as 2025, with many of the UK’s best-selling cars already being electric.

According to new research from the RAC, as many as 14 percent of drivers – more than ever before – say their next car will be electric (EV).

However, the proportion of those expecting to be in an EV in the next five years has reduced in the last year.

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The new RAC Report on Motoring 2022 found that the number of drivers planning to change their vehicle in the near future has declined steadily in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Fewer drivers than ever plan to opt for a conventionally fuelled vehicle as their next car, yet a greater proportion than ever expect to get an EV. 

Simon Williams, EV spokesperson for the RAC, said: “It’s great to see an increasing proportion of drivers saying they will go electric next time they change their vehicles, with more than twice as many saying their next vehicles will be zero-emission than before the pandemic.

“It’s very important to realise, however, that for those who can afford to make the switch it’s still cheaper to drive electric. 

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“We must not let the growing desire to go electric be derailed by rising electricity costs, higher interest rates and vehicle availability issues. 

“We urgently call on the Government to reintroduce the £1,500 plug-in car grant for EVs below £30,000 as this had been successful in encouraging manufacturers to bring out cheaper models. 

“The Government should also reduce the rate of VAT on public charge points to five percent to ensure the third of people who can’t charge at home are not disadvantaged.

“With the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars just over seven years away, it’s vital as many people as possible are able to switch to electric, and this will only happen if EVs become more affordable.”

Mr Williams pointed to a combination of factors affecting prices including Covid, availability issues, the cost of living crisis and the semiconductor shortage.

Just 41 percent of drivers say their next vehicle will run on petrol – down from 45 percent in 2021 and 52 percent back in 2018 – while only 13 percent will choose a diesel.

The proportion of drivers who do not know when they will acquire their first electric vehicle has increased to 42 percent from 36 percent in 2021.

Even though rising electricity prices caused by the war in Ukraine have made driving an electric vehicle more expensive, RAC data shows it’s still 10p-a-mile cheaper to drive an EV than a petrol car which does 40 miles to the gallon.

Quentin Wilson, motoring journalist and founder of FairCharge, said: “The intention to switch from combustion cars to electric is up from previous years and shows that there’s a significant body of drivers who want to take advantage of the lower ownership costs of EVs as well as making a difference to air quality and climate change. 

“We now need the Government to help drivers with better infrastructure, offer more incentives and lower VAT on public charging. This is a historic moment in the transition to reducing transport emissions and moving from polluting fossil fuels to sustainable electricity. Future generations will depend on us to make the most of this opportunity.”

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