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Electric Car Sales In The UK – 2012

May 21, 2013

By Paul Homewood



If the UK is to get anywhere near it targets for reducing CO2 emissions, it needs to do three things:-

  1. Totally revolutionise its structure for electricity supply.
  2. Decarbonise domestic heating.
  3. Replace conventional cars with electric ones.

We already know that the government is struggling to achieve the first two objectives, but what about transport? The Committee on Climate Change has called for 1.7m electric cars on the road by 2020.

And DECC’s Fourth Carbon Budget, published in 2011, is based on a target for 50% of new car sales to be electric, during the budget period of 2023-27.

So how is progress going?

According to the Department for Transport, only 2198 electric cars were sold last year, despite a £5000 government bribe. This figure includes all electric variants, such as plug-in hybrids, not just pure electric models, such as the Leaf.

This figure is a minute 0.1% of the total figure of 2,044,609 new car registrations last year.


It has been evident for a long while that the “experts”, who put together these plans and legislation at DECC, have been living in their own little fantasy world. But surely it is evident, even to them now, that they need to come down from their ivory tower, and join the rest of us in the real world.

The Soviets learnt the hard way that bureaucratic, centralised state planning does not work. How much more damage will be inflicted on our economy before our commissars learn the same lesson?

  1. Joe Public permalink
    May 21, 2013 4:36 pm

    Is it any wonder the public isn’t conned, when you also consider the exorbitant cost of their batteries?

    For example, Renault with their imaginatively named “Fluence” (?Flatulence, surely?) charge an extra £104 pcm for mandatory battery hire. (over 3 yrs / 12,000 mile pa)

  2. May 21, 2013 5:39 pm

    I drive through West London every day, and while hybrids now are a fairly common sight (the Prius, etc.) I’ve hardly ever noticed a full EV – maybe caught sight of a G-Whiz on very rare occasions.

    Council facilities such as sports centres here in Hounslow now have charging facilities for EVs, but I’ve never glimpsed one being used – it would be interesting to find out from the council what the usage actually is. Still very, very low, is my guess.

    • May 21, 2013 6:36 pm

      I guess the exemption from the congestion charge must make quite a saving if you drive in London everyday. But of course, this is just another form of subsidy.

      I would not be surprised if some have an electric car for a runabout, and a petrol engined car for weekends and holidays etc.

      • May 22, 2013 9:20 pm

        They’re bringing in some changes to the congestion charge for London on 1st July this year – only EVs and “ultra-low emission cars and vans” will then qualify for the 100% discount.

        There are some low-emission vehicles (notably diesels and hybrids) which meet the current criteria now and which won’t after 1st July, but I understand there’s a “sunset period” for these until 2016.

        The tightening of the rules is because in TfL’s words the “number of vehicles able to meet the Greener Vehicle Discount criteria is constantly growing, and without a tightening of the emissions criteria, there could be a significant increase in the numbers of vehicles within the Congestion Charging zone” – which would be rather ironic.

        I suppose the change might also be designed to push more people into opting for EVs – Boris’s target is 100,000 of them on the streets of London, and apparently he’s only about 2% of the way there!

  3. Paul permalink
    May 21, 2013 10:01 pm

    If this carries on I suspect 2000 workers can kiss goodbye to their jobs:

  4. May 22, 2013 12:49 am

    Very nice. I love it when a green plan doesn’t come together.

  5. May 22, 2013 11:48 am

    I shouldnt cheer to much yet!

    ………….. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says changes announced in the 2012 Budget to the company car tax regime, including plans to remove the electric vehicle exemption in 2015, had an immediate impact on the market and unsettled demand.

    But it’s now hoped that the introduction of two new BIK bands will help kick-start the market………………

    ………….. James Taylor, Vauxhall’s fleet sales director, was similarly upbeat. He said: “Creating this ultra-low carbon band means BIK rates stay at their lowest for company car drivers looking to choose an Ampera and companies looking to add it to their company car choice list can do so with confidence now the Government’s ultra-low emission vehicle BIK strategy is confirmed until 2020.”

    It’s that long -term view coupled with the avoidance of a massive hike in personal tax after April 2015 which Nissan’s corporate sales director Jon Pollock believes will persuade more company car drivers to choose an EV like the Leaf as their next company car. …………

    BIK = benefit in kind

    So, it looks like a case of double subsidies for evs – will they be given away “free” in a packet of cornflakes?

  6. Brian H permalink
    June 9, 2013 2:13 am

    Wait till the Tesla Model S hits your shores. You’ll be left gaping. Consumer Reports: the best car, ever.


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