Government needs ‘radical’ plan to boost electric car sales

Government needs ‘radical’ plan to boost electric car sales
The government needs to do more to encourage drivers to go electric, the RAC has warned.

Following the release of a joint select committee report – which examined the government’s air quality plans – the organisation says shorter-term goals should be put into place to convince drivers to buy low emissions vehicles before the sale of new petrol and diesel motors is banned in 2040.

With sales of electric cars dropping off since the start of the year, the RAC urged the government to consider more “radical” plans and incentives to encourage motorists to switch.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: "The Government's longer-term ambition to end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles should be matched by a shorter term one which does more to incentivise drivers to choose cleaner alternatives.

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“With the latest figures showing a drop in the number of electric cars being sold in the UK at the start of this year compared to 2017, now is the time to ask whether incentives such as the plug-in grant scheme are doing enough to change drivers' buying habits.

“The Government may need to be far more radical by looking at VAT on sales of zero-emission vehicles.”

The RAC said that in addition to incentives, more needs to be done to reassure drivers over their key concerns – such as access to charging points and high up-front costs.

My Lyes said: “There is also a lot of work to be done to demonstrate that the country is ready for a new era of cleaner vehicles.

“While manufacturers have committed to selling many more hybrid and pure electric models which will help bring the price of these down, this needs to be backed by the right infrastructure – such as the availability of more high-speed charging infrastructure which can help allay drivers' range anxiety.

“It should also look at key areas such as on-street charging for residents, and at destination points such as car parks where drivers are likely to leave their vehicles for longer periods.

“A combination of competitive up-front vehicle costs and confidence in the charging infrastructure should provide the tipping point for a transition to zero-emission vehicles.”

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The report – put together by MPs from Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Health, Environmental Audit and Transport Committees – has been backed by environmental groups including Greenpeace and law firm ClientEarth.

Greenpeace clean air campaigner Rosie Rogers says the ban should now be moved forward to 2030. She said: "We now know diesel is toxic so there can be no more excuses and no more delays.

“The Government must prioritise public health and bring forward its phase-out date by at least 10 years. Other countries have managed it, and people who live in the UK deserve clean air just as much."

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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