A report published by the Transport Select Committee has criticised the government’s strategy to promote plug-in electric vehicles.
Currently, the government offers a £5,000 grant to buyers of electric cars. The report concludes that this isn’t enough if the UK is to meet its climate change targets and recommends more targeted zero-emission vehicle policies.
To date, Department of Transport expenditure on plug-in cars has totalled £11 million; something that the Select Committee suggests has only benefitted a handful of motorists, with electric vehicles still too expensive to be considered as a viable means of transport for the majority of buyers.
“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,” said Louise Ellman MP, the committee chair.
The government also came in for criticism for not even having a register of all the charge points, which have been installed using public money.
According to the National Chargepoint Registry, there were 452 charge points installed nationwide as of March 2012, although Department for Transport estimates suggest there are more than 3,000 currently in operation.
The committee has put forward a number of recommendations to aid take-up of electric vehicles, including making sure there was access to the charging infrastructure nationwide, and to reach an EU-level agreement as to the standard to be used for the charging infrastructure.
The Department for Transport has also been called on to explain its under-spend in its low-carbon vehicle programme.