Hundreds of millions of pounds is available to promote and subside their use and they have been declared as the future of motor transport so why are so few electric cars being sold? Thanks to information discovered under freedom of information, we can see that the electric car revolution has yet to take off in any form whatsoever.
It was hoped that electric cars would be widely visible across London; five years ago, the government set a target of having 10,000 Londoners driving EVs but as of late 2014, only 1,800 people are members of the Boris Johnson vehicle charging scheme. Even worse is the fact that few members even use their privileges. Less than 400 of London’s 1,400 charging points were used at all during July and August 2014. Half of these charging points were used less than 10 times apiece. Thanks to squabbles between local councils and private operators of chargers, a large number of these vital stations are falling into disrepair.
A Wasted Opportunity
You can go to the Source London website to find out just how many charging points are not in use. Of the charging stations that do work, a large percentage of them are in paid car parking locations which means electric car owners have to pay parking fees to charge their vehicles.
According to Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Stephen Knight, Mayor Johnson has made many boastful claims about the volume of charging stations in London but has failed to keep watch to see how many are actually working.
The picture looks even bleaker outside the capital where the charging network is practically non-existent in certain regions. The DVLA says there are less than 10,000 electric cars operating in the UK which is around 0.03% of vehicles in the nation. Despite this, it appears as if the UK Government continues to set aside huge sums of money to promote an unpopular technology in the erroneous belief that electric car ownership will drastically increase.
If you are interested in purchasing an electric car, you can benefit from a $7,700 (£5,000) grant along with the cost of installing a charging point at home while local councils also have large amounts of cash set aside for EV users. Despite all this, the British public still sees electric cars are being an unreliable and undesirable mode of transport.
Despite the advances in EV development, the technology is still relatively primitive; it can take up to 8 hours to charge your car and in some models, a recharge is necessary every 40-50 miles. In essence, the only viable consumers are those who live in cities and have off-street parking; as you can imagine, this is a fairly small market.
Nonetheless, the coalition government is keen to continue pushing electric car technology. Cynics believe this is because it allows politicians to appear ‘green’ while avoiding tough decisions on the issue. In reality, politicians do not want to do anything which would make motorists use their vehicles less often.
If the Government really wants the UK’s citizens to be ‘green’, it needs to make tough decisions such as limiting our car usage. Instead, it is essentially saying that using big cars is fine as long as the engines are a bit more environmentally friendly. Ultimately, the Government is wasting money on a poorly performing technology which will not lure many new proponents until it experiences significant advances.